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The importance of timing in business

Bestselling author Daniel Pink on the latest time management research



When you set a goal, what do you focus on? Odds are, you put most of your energy toward how you will achieve results. But what if you shifted that focus from the how to the when? What if timing in business was that important? What if good timing could not only enhance your performance, it could actually give you the edge that you need to achieve your goal?

In this episode of the Tony Robbins podcast, we have a very special guest – New York Times bestselling author and one of the most influential business minds of our time, Daniel Pink. Dan has been studying the importance of timing in business for years, and what he has to say may surprise you.

Who is Daniel Pink?

Daniel Pink is an author, TV host and former speechwriter for Al Gore. He is widely regarded as one of the foremost thinkers in behavioral sciences. He’s upended conventional wisdom about what drives and motivates people. He’s challenged the value that society places on left brain over right brain skills. And he’s dispelled preconceived notions about what really makes a great salesman.

His latest work is no exception. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing – Dan shares profound insight into the importance of timing – and why most businesses, and most employees, get it wrong.

The “tyranny of how”

Both Tony and Dan have always been fascinated with the way we make decisions. As Tony says, humans often focus on the how, when it’s really the why that is the most important. Why do you want the things that you want? Connecting your goals back to your ultimate purpose in life is the only way to truly create lasting change.

Dan would add that we must also focus on the when. We make all kinds of “when” decisions – when to start a business, when to exercise, when to eat. But he argues that we make them in an ill-informed way – and he wanted to do better. Guidance didn’t exist, so like a true pioneer, he looked at the science and forged his own path.

Here Dan discusses the science behind time management – how it impacts your cognitive abilities, your mood, your state. He reveals the secrets of how good timing can help you become the most efficient, effective version of yourself. And he shares how business owners can leverage the time of day to create an optimal working environment for their employees.

The importance of timing in business

As Dan explains in the podcast, about 20% of the variance in how people perform on the job can be explained by timing. Yes – timing is everything in business, and you can leverage the three parts of the day – peak, trough and recovery – to be more productive, improve efficiency and achieve success.

He’ll also explain the importance of breaks. Dan wasn’t always a fan of breaks, but now he knows that the research backs up their importance. Breaks are not a concession. They’re not a sign of weakness. They can enhance our performance. That’s why he believes that companies need to treat breaks seriously – especially in the US, where we have a culture of overwork.

Changing company culture means more than putting nap pods in your break room. Leaders need to demonstrate time is not just just acceptable, but encouraged, by taking breaks and using their vacation time. Accommodate for breaks. Schedule meetings at the right times. All this will allow employees to be the most efficient versions of themselves.

Listen to the podcast for more expert time management strategies and to unlock the secrets behind your own chronobiology.

Daniel Pink Interview

Self-awareness is key in business, so consider this episode a wake-up call. It’s not just about what you are doing, it’s about when you are doing it that can make all the difference. Once you embrace this concept and your true chronobiology, you can become the best version of yourself at work and at home.

Show Notes

[00:56] Episode introduction
[02:40] Welcome Dan
[02:50] The “Tyranny of How” vs. When
[03:25] Dan’s exploration into timing
[04:30] What does science say about timing?
[04:45] Peak, Trough, Recovery
[05:40] Our cognitive abilities are not static
[06:05] Analytic work during the peak
[06:25] Administrative work during the trough
[06:55] Creative work during the recovery
[07:35] Timing and performance
[08:15] Where does lunch fit in?
[09:25] Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
[09:55] Lunch and breaks
[10:35] Dispelling the myth about breaks
[11:25] Where do naps fit in?
[13:25] Research on the 10-20 minute nap
[13:50] The “Nappuccino”
[15:45] Company culture adjusting to breaks
[16:55] Start treating breaks seriously
[18:05] Restorative breaks
[19:05] Changing the way you manage employees
[20:35] Scheduling meetings
[22:35] The “Earnings Calls” study
[25:20] Standardized tests and timing
[26:05] Anesthesiologist testing
[27:50] Handwashing in hospitals
[28:55] Larks, Owls, and Third-birds
[34:30] Understanding your chronotype
[36:00] Gender and chronotype
[36:25] Ideal jobs for owls
[38:25] Schoolteachers are mostly larks
[38:45] Accomodating for owls
[40:05] Inputs vs. results
[40:35] When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Our cognitive abilities do not remain static throughout the day - they can change in both predictable and dramatic ways. - Daniel Pink

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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