Friday, January 19, 2018

Beat the Clock

If you don't think your performance is sharply rhythmic throughout the day—or that timing matters—consider the results of 26,000 corporate earnings calls.

Regardless of earnings and management's outlook—rosy or bleakwhen CEOs conducted the calls in the early morning, their tone was positive; but as morning progressed, their tone grew less so. Calls held around noon were again upbeat; but as the afternoon unwound, until the market's closing bell, the tone went steadily downhill.

The time of the earnings calls and the CEOs' tone affected investors' reactions and companies' share prices. CEOs who held earnings calls late in the day saw shares in their companies underpriced—at least temporarily.

It appears CEOs are "morning people." About seven of 10 people are.

Managing your internal clock for performance is the point of Dan Pink's new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

In WhenPink parses nearly 300 scientific studies (like the one about the earnings calls) and distills the findings into a long list of action items. He lists the items after each successive chapter in a "Time Hacker's Handbook" meant "to help put the insights into action." 

You can skip the science and only read the handbook, if you just want to improve performance. 

But that would take all the fun out of it. 

Pink is a delight to read (I like to read his books twice, because there's so much good stuff packed into them). He can popularize dreary science findings better than most business writers, and generally finds a practical lesson for the layperson in even the obscurest of research papers.
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