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FEBRUARY 06, 2019


Daniel Pink is the author of four world bestsellers. His books have been translated into 34 languages. In 2013, Daniel was included in the list of the best business thinkers Thinkers 50.


A person's life is an endless stream of "when" decisions: when to change careers, report bad news, get married or divorced, go for a run, and so on. We make most of these decisions intuitively and believe that the right choice of time is an art. According to the author, this is a science based on facts. However, too little attention is paid to it compared to, say, the science of how to do something. There are many books on "how to do it". But Daniel Pink's book is about "when to do it."

Daily rhythm


A few years ago, two sociologists at Cornell University, Michael Macy and Scott Golder, conducted a large-scale study. They studied more than 500 million tweets of 2.4 million Twitter users from 84 countries, which was written in more than two years. The aim of the study was to determine how human emotions - both bad and good - change over time. For this purpose the LIWC program which allows to analyze the text was used.

It turned out that there are clear patterns common to people from different countries. Positive emotions were observed in users mainly in the morning, in the middle of the day the mood deteriorated rapidly and improved again in the evening. And it doesn't matter if it was an American or an Asian, an atheist or a Muslim. Scientists have concluded that this pattern is the same for different cultures and geographical areas. Moreover, he did not depend on the day of the week. Except that on Saturday and Sunday the morning peak started on average two hours later, but the dynamics remained.

Three centuries ago, it was found that almost all living things (from unicellular organisms to humans) have a biological clock. In humans, the suprachiasmatic nucleus is responsible for them - a section of the hypothalamus the size of a rice grain.

This nucleus controls changes in body temperature during the day, regulates hormones, helps us fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning. Our built-in biological clock adjusts to both social requirements (office schedule or bus schedule) and environmental signals (dawn and sunset). But the main thing - as a result of his work, people are subject to a certain rhythm. Of course, they may differ in different people (as there may not be the same pressure or pulse in all), but the common patterns remain. In recent years, more and more research is being conducted and new patterns are being discovered that determine our mood, efficiency, that is, directly affect our lives.

The pattern found by Macy and Golder is not the first time in the history of research. A similar picture was observed by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and his colleague Alan Krueger. In 2006, they used the Day Reconstruction Method (MRI) in a sample of 9,000 American women of all races, ages, incomes, and education. As a result, it turned out that positive emotions increased in the morning, reaching a peak by noon, then fell sharply, and then began to rise again, and the second peak occurred in the evening.

Interestingly, the opposite pattern is true for negative emotions. And the graph of "emotional balance" can be built by subtracting from the indicators of happiness during the day the level of frustration at the same time points - and get about the same picture: growth, peak, decline and growth again.


The patterns of fluctuations in our mood discovered by scientists are not just an interesting fact. They directly affect business and even financial markets. After all, managers, investors and traders in the stock markets are subject to these patterns. This means, for example, that there may be a situation where the stock price will fall if someone calls during an emotional downturn. Moreover, scientists who have conducted research in this area, give a clear recommendation to top managers: communication with investors, making important management decisions and negotiations should be scheduled in the morning.

Bermuda Triangle of the day


This is what the author calls the time in the afternoon. It is a threat not only to our productivity, but also to our health. For example, researchers at Duke University Medical Center analyzed 90,000 surgeries and found that anesthesiologists' errors increased significantly during surgeries scheduled for 3 or 4 p.m. The probability of problems at 9 am is 1%, and at 4 pm - 4.2%. The probability of causing significant damage to the patient as a result of an error at 8 am is equal to 0.3%, and at 15 o'clock - 1%, ie three times  more!

A similar pattern is true for diagnostic tests. For example, one study found that endoscopists were less likely to detect rectal polyps as  approaching the middle of the day. At 11 o'clock the doctor finds on average twice as many polyps as at 14. If people saw these numbers before prescribing procedures, then  it is unlikely that daytime would be in demand among patients.

Other studies show that doctors are more likely to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics in the afternoon. In short, although we believe that it is important who will be our doctor, and what our problem is - in fact, a huge role is played when we get to the reception.

The "Bermuda Triangle" has a negative effect on almost everyone. In Denmark, for example, students who take tests in the morning are found to have significantly better grades than those who take exams in the afternoon.

These patterns sound a little scary: it turns out that we are programmed to make mistakes at certain times of the day. However, there is a way to deal with these difficulties. During  Continuation of the Danish experiment, students were given a 30-minute break before the day test so they could play, eat, and socialize. In this case, theirs  scores did not decrease.

The idea of a break works not only on children, but also on adults. This was shown by a study that analyzed decision-making  Israeli judges. After each break, they began to pass milder sentences, and over the next few hours, their judgments gradually became harsher - until the next break. 


Break rules


What should be the breaks to benefit? First, frequent short breaks are more effective than frequent and long ones. Desktime, which develops software to track performance, says its most efficient users have one thing in common - they take breaks right. Namely: on average, they work for 52 minutes, and then take a break for 17 minutes.

Secondly, breaks should be spent in motion. According to the author, sitting is a bad habit, similar to smoking. The movement, even for a few minutes, works much harder than a "sitting" break. One study found that five minutes of walking every hour increases energy levels, focuses attention, improves mood and avoids afternoon fatigue. And several such five-minute episodes are much more effective than a half-hour walk.

Third, for most people, a break is more effective if it is not spent alone. A study in South Korea found that such "social" breaks - talking to colleagues about something unrelated to work - reduced stress and improved mood better than "cognitive" (say, e-mail responses). mail) or "nutritious" (eating) breaks.

Fourth, for a good rest you need to completely, not partially, disconnect from everything. It is proved that 99% of people are not capable of multitasking. However, during breaks we often try to combine different things. For example, relax and read text messages at the same time. In the aforementioned South Korean study, relaxation breaks were found to be much more effective at reducing stress than  "Multitasking". Thus, for a real vacation you need to "disconnect" from work not only physically but also psychologically.

The power of the beginning

The author pays special attention to the choice of the start time of the case. He is sure that this decision often affects the whole process and the end result. And although we may not always be able to choose the time ourselves, in cases where this is possible, it is necessary to approach the definition of the moment of beginning consciously. To do this, Pink proposes to use three principles:

1. Start right. The author recalls how during the school years his whole class felt very tired in the first lesson (which started at 7:55 am). Scientists now know that during puberty a person begins to rebuild the biological clock, so he falls asleep and wakes up later. However, lessons in schools in different countries invariably start early in the morning.

In one study, the start time of lessons changed to 8:35. After that, the attendance of the schools participating in the experiment increased and the number of delays decreased. And in another school, which changed the start time from 7:35 to 8:55, students were 70% less likely to get into car accidents in the morning. Thus, sometimes a shift of the start time by one hour can bring significant results.


2. Start again.  Almost all of us promised ourselves to start something "on Monday", for example, to quit smoking or start going to the gym. On January 1, the number of Google searches for "diet" was 80% higher than on regular days. You can also see an increase in the number of such requests on the first day of each month and the first day of the week. A similar picture was found by researchers in student sports clubs: at the beginning of a new semester, a new week and a new month, there is a surge in activity, which then decreases.

Obviously, some time points are more important to us than others, and we strive to attribute the beginning of something important to them. In addition to social guidelines such as January 1, there are individual, for example, birthdays. But whatever category these points belong to, they play an important role - helping us to start again, from scratch, separating ourselves from past mistakes. It's as if we're saying to ourselves, "I wouldn't run in the morning, and I'll be the new one."

When we attach special importance to a day, give it meaning that is important to us, we get the opportunity to start again what we once could not finish. For example, if you consider March 20 the first day of spring - then you are more likely to get a fresh start.

3. Start together.  For many years, educational hospitals in the United States suffered from the so-called "July effect." Every year this month, a group of newcomers - graduates of medical universities - entered the service. They had little experience working with real patients, so mistakes were inevitable. In July, there were many more medical errors in training hospitals than in the rest of the month. Other studies claim that patients had an 18% higher risk of surgical problems in July and August than in April and May.

How to deal with this difficulty? The solution turned out to be quite simple: to make the former students start not alone, but together with experienced doctors. In the last decade, they have started in training hospitals as part of a team that includes  experienced nurses and doctors. This allows you to get rid of the "July effect".

Motivation of the middle

When the process is started and some time has passed, many people face a decline in enthusiasm. For them, the author offers the following recommendations:

- Set intermediate goals.  In one study, researchers looked at how people's motivation to lose weight, prepare for a marathon, and accumulate miles to get a free airline ticket changed. It turned out that at the beginning and at the end the motivation was high, but in the middle people were discouraged. If you look at the middle as a goal, ie set an intermediate goal, and after reaching it, set the next goal, motivation will increase at the end and beginning of each intermediate stage.


- Stop in the middle of the sentence. This technique was used by Ernest Hemingway: instead of finishing the section to the end, he interrupted in the middle. The feeling of incompleteness made it easier for him to get to work the next day. In psychology, this phenomenon is called the Zeigarnik effect: it is easier to remember unfinished business than finished.

- Do not break the chain. Writer Jerry Seinfeld has developed the habit of writing every day, whether or not he has inspiration. He marked in the calendar all the days when he worked. Eventually, a chain was formed, then it lengthened, and it became easier to maintain motivation.

Group timing


People are created in such a way that they rarely do anything alone. Evolutionarily, our survival depended on the ability to coordinate with others. Therefore, it is important not only individual but also group choice of the right time, the ability to synchronize actions, - said Pink. He believes that such synchronization should take place on three levels: with the boss, with the tribe and with the heart.

The first level means: when it comes to group activities, the necessary leader is the one who  will set speed, set standards, and focus the collective mind. A typical example is a choir conducted by a conductor.

After synchronizing with the boss, the group must synchronize with the "tribe", ie among themselves. This requires a deep sense of belonging to the team. In 1995, two social psychologists, Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary, empirically proved that the need to relate to something greater is a basic human motivation. The feeling of belonging affects our thoughts and emotions. When it is not there, we get sick, and when it is present, we feel healthier and happier with life. How to achieve a sense of belonging in a team? There are many options: from the same clothes to common symbols and touches, from quick responses to letters from employees to corporate rituals.

And finally, the third level of group synchronization is the joint performance of tasks, in which everyone feels good. Here the author again mentions choral singing. He cites research data that show the stunning effect of this group session. It not only improves your emotional state, but also strengthens your health. Numerous studies confirm that group singing increases the production of immunoglobulin, helps fight infections and even reduces the need for painkillers. And such effect is characteristic of group, instead of individual singing.

People who sing in the choir feel better, which in turn strengthens their coordination. It turns out a positive vicious circle: feeling good makes it easier to synchronize with the group, and it raises the mood even more.

All of the above applies not only to singing, but also to any other group activities that help people feel good. Organizations can take this into account if they want to build really strong teams.

Summing up, the author writes: the key to a meaningful life is not to "live in the present moment." In fact, it is about integrating our notions of time into a single whole that will help us understand who we are and why we are here.

Source:  Digest


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Jun 19 2019, 15:20


Alexander Savruk - Candidate of Economic Sciences, Dean of kmbs. He specializes in strategic management, business philosophy, change management. He is also a member of the Academic Council and Rectorate of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, the Ukrainian Association of Management Consultants and has worked as an advisor to the Minister of Economy on microeconomic issues. Partner "Mohyla Strategic Agency" - Action Tank.

Jan 29 2020, 06:45


We live in a world of open systems, so for the success of the organization (state or cultural institution, business, etc.) you need to be able to see yourself as part of a broader system and interact with other players. What result can be achieved by changing your thinking? And what are the prerequisites for changing large systems? Helena Savruk, Managing Partner of the Mohyla Strategic Agency (MSA), Head of the Strategic Architect School and Strategic Leadership in Ukraine's Security and Defense Sector at kmbs, spoke about this.

Mar 9 2020, 04:09


The success story of Intertop, which has achieved its goals through an ecosystem approach, transformed the business and changed the business model, can be indicative not only for fashion projects, but also for any company that looks to the future. Today, a manager can no longer think only of the boundaries of his company or partner companies. You need to include other players in your system.

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