Distinguising ‘Intangible’ Mood and ‘Tangible’ Performance

Distinguishing the ‘intangible’ of mood and the ‘tangible’ of performance…and how either affects how we schedule our lives carries importance which should not be dismissed because it may appear too esoteric for practical relevance.  https://kpstrat.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1404

People tend not to take issues related to when, nearly as seriously as they may take issues related to what…i.e., when problems vs. what problems, are distinctions which author Daniel Pink examines through various sciences related to timing.  Timing, says Pink, is significant, but a largely unrecognized player in our lives. Naps, for example, Pink claims, are akin to Zambonis for our brains, (think ice hockey rinks), they smooth out the nicks on our mental ice.  https://kpstrat.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=198

So, is ‘knowing more about ‘when’ a science?…e.g., what time of day do people perform their best? Author Daniel Pink explores this question and others in his new book titled “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.” which Jeffrey Brown, PBS News Hour Bookshelf  interviewed Pink. One question Brown asked was ‘how does one’s mood (an intangible) and performance (a tangible) follow relatively regular patterns throughout most people’s day’, ala, affect scheduling our lives.  https://kpstrat.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5345

Obviously, there are countless books routinely titled and marketed for the ‘how-to’ and/or ‘do it yourself’ genres…one need not look far, either online, or in an actual (tangible) bookstore to see book titles framed (euphemistically, of course) as the proverbial ‘five easy steps to nuclear fusion’, etc.

An interesting, but, I believe often overlooked aspect to most conventional ‘how to’ books is…the absence of a ‘when to’ component, according to Pink, i.e., the best time of day to take an exam, have a medical procedure conducted, or make big life decisions, such as getting married, getting divorced, or quitting one’s job.

Pinks says the subject of ‘when’ initially sparked his interest as he realized that he was making countless ‘when’ decisions independently…some relatively minor and others far more consequential, e.g., when, during the day should he exercise or when should he abandon a project that just doesn’t seem to be working as initially thought?

What’s more, Pinks says, he (personally) was making many of his when decisions quite haphazardly…it didn’t take long, he claims to figure out how he could make his when decisions in a better way. So, he started reviewing the relevant research and reported in many different domains which collectively, allow people, so interested, to make evidence-based, systematically smarter, and shrewder decisions regarding when to do things.

This became the data which Pink examined and addressed in his current book, of course, it derives from various disciplines…such as economics, social psychology, cognitive sciences, anesthesiology, endocrinology, chronobiology, and even linguistics.  Each provides – unlocks clues about the when. Scholars in each of the aforementioned disciplines are, in many instances, posing similar questions, as Pink, regarding when, in terms of how they may variously influence patterns – schedules to our lives.

For author Pink, this research suggests that…both, one’s mood (the intangible) and one’s performance (the more tangible) follow fairly-regular – routines and/or patterns during the course of any given day. Most people, Pink argues, experience (a.) a peak, (b.) a trough, and (c.) a rebound.  For most, their peak occurs in the morning, followed by a trough in the early afternoon, and then they may experience a rebound and recovery period later in the day.

For people who are legitimate ‘night owls’ for example…they may experience these routines – patterns (noted above) in a variously reverse order. Never-the-less, Pink says, what the research confirms, most people, should engage-conduct analytic types of work during their ‘peak’.

Pink suggests during ‘trough’ periods it’s not a good time…in other words, he advises people should avoid going to the hospital and/or responding to routine e-mails. However, during one’s recovery period, people have an elevated mood (intangibles) but, people may be less vigilant when compared to their peak period. This makes it an opportune time for one to engage in things like brainstorming and creative work.

The mere act of rearranging one’s work (pattern, schedule), ever so slightly, can produce significant difference in outcomes…for example, there is current research which suggest that the time of day explains about 20 percent of the variance in human performance (tangibles) in terms of workplace tasks. So, one could contend that while ‘timing may not be everything, it surely plays variously significant roles’.

To that point, Jeffrey Brown (PBS) asks an affirming question of Pink…i.e., the important thing is knowing who you are, right?  Pink’s reply, as expected, is yes.  Some people he notes, possess early ‘morning chronotypes’, i.e., they go to sleep early and wake up early, while other people possess ‘evening chronotypes’, that is, they go to sleep late and wake up late.

Most people, Pink found in his research regarding ‘the when’…lie somewhere in the middle, i.e., what he affectionately refers to as ‘larks and third birds’. That is, people who possess third bird characteristics are inclined to (a.) peak, (b.) trough, and (c.) recover in fairly-predictable patterns, as do people who possess evening chronotypes, ala night owls, in which (a.) recovery, (b.) troughs, and (c.) peak periods area also fairly-predictable.

At the end of each chapter in Pink’s book he offers practical tips for readers…but, he include a caution, I don’t hold the view that people can transform their life if, for example, they are both overweight and lazy, but, pursue – engage in no activities to mitigate either.  So, reading Pinks’ book which again, describes the way people generally approach and utilize (their) time will not likely serve as an epiphany for immediate – irreversible conversion. Instead, and perhaps equally important, Pink’s book serves as a relevant source of available science that provides significant insights into who we are.  https://kpstrat.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5565

If – when a person attaches personal relevance to a particular-areas of scientific study, as Pink, then genuinely try to apply it to their own life, its-all-the-more-likely it will become meaningful, and ultimately, one’s understanding and appreciation for that area of science will elevate considerably.

Michael D. Moberly January 31, 2018 St. Louis [email protected]  ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ since May 2006 https://kpstrat.com/blog where attention span, business realities, and solutions converge!

Readers are invited to explore other blog posts, papers, and books I have published at https://kpstrat.com/blog/papers

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