The cliche “timing is everything” may be overused, but Daniel Pink’s new book When makes it clear just how important and accurate that saying is for each of us in our daily personal and professional lives.

In his latest book, Daniel pulls from numerous scientific studies to demonstrate not just how to best use your time every day, but how to leverage and even manipulate time to our own advantage.

Four specific lessons I took from the book:

  1. Find and use your “peak” times every day: For most of us (about 75 percent in fact) our peak time is in the morning, followed by a trough in the early afternoon and a modest rebound in the early evening.  For night owls it’s the opposite.  The idea is that you schedule  your most important work, your hardest work, during your peak times.  Do easier work (answering email for example) during your trough.
  2. Start over (literally whenever you want):  Momentum can be positive and negative, both of which can be halted by simply starting over.  And the beauty of time is that, for many things, we can choose to start over whenever we want.  Diet not working?  Start fresh tomorrow.  Have writer’s block?  Stop writing and start over this afternoon.
  3. How you end is what they remember: Our brains are trained to remember what we last saw or experienced the longest.  We might remember the start, and rarely remember the middle.  So timing your best work towards the end of an engagement, the end of a performance, will always leave the best impression in the minds of your client or audience.
  4. The power of “syncing” to feel and do good: Making the time to sync with your team (in a daily huddle or just off the cuff in the hallway) creates new energy and momentum towards a common goal.  When we feel coordinated, we feel empowered and excited to continue and finish.

Well worth the quick read.