Heed Yourself – Five Great Ways to Make the Most of Your Day

Goooood morning, Nevada!

A colleague of mine sent over a snippet from Daniel Pink, a business author and behavioral science guru, which I felt was worth sharing. For all you business readers, I put him in the same category as Simon Sinek, Malcom Gladwell, or Sir Ken Robinson in terms of thought leaders, folks who are curious about the world, and leaders who are at the top because they put people first (in my opinion). Another great comparison of like-minded thinkers can be seen in Dan Ariely’s The Upside of Irrationality, in terms of books that get your creative juices flowing and make you question many of the assumptions that society just wants you to accept at face value.

Spoiler: I’m not a fan of accepting anything at face value. Favorite quote from te Irrationality read – “…wherever you go, there you are.”


The bit I received was from Daniel Pink’s paperback, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, which offered up five nuggets from the book. Again, this work is Daniel’s, not mine. I definitely recommend following the links for some cool graphics and additional thoughts. The one about naps is perfectly delicious :-) Yum.

  1. The recipe for greater productivity and well-being is to do analytic work during your peak, administrative work during your trough, and insight work during your recovery.

  2. Breaks are not a deviation from performance; they are part of performance. And the most restorative breaks are social rather than solo, outside not inside, moving instead of stationary, and fully detached rather than semi-detached.

  3. The most effective naps are extremely short — only 10 to 20 minutes long. And the most effective nap of all is to precede your brief snooze with a cup of coffee — a technique known as a nappuccino.

  4. When you’re delivering good news and bad news, always give the bad news first. With endings, people prefer rising sequences to declining sequences.

  5. Choral singing is the new exercise. Research shows that singing in a choir elevates mood, protects against depression, boosts immune response, and makes people more likely to do good deeds.

My two cents.

  • I am a big proponent of structuring your day around your natural peaks and troughs as the day ticks by. My brain is humming along from 6:00-2:00ish for the analytical stuff, and after that, I’m cooked. I understand that I get the best insights when I’m swimming in the pool (aka recovery from work, not necessarily physical recovery), and appreciate that if I take a midday break to go for a run or weight lifting session, I come back with more energy than if I just ate at my desk and plowed along through my piles of stuff and things.
  • I am a HUGE fan of social breaks. Not because I’m an extrovert – just the opposite – but I absolutely have to have a mental break during the day. I love when coworkers pop by to add some flavor to my day to talk about movies, the Nevada Wolf Pack, video games, or want to go for tacos just because it’s Tuesday. While I may not eat away from my desk, I always, always, ALWAYS take at least a 15 minute walk outside to get away. It helps restore my focus and drive, and even allows time for a power nap.
  • NAPS! My father, who has not only been a wonderful mentor, companion, and captain of the family ship, is the absolute, undisputed King of Naps. He’s basically like Rocky of the napping world. I picked up his ability to fall asleep anywhere in just a few brief moments, and can wake up refreshed and ready for some more butt kicking. I don’t always get my eight hours of sleep, shoot, I usually don’t get seven, but the naps do help me to survive! I still hate coffee, so that’s a hard pass on a nappuccino…
  • Bad news first – I don’t beat around the bush and I don’t like when others do either. So please don’t.
  • As a musician, I definitely appreciate the benefits that singing brings, but I would actually counter this point and say that everyone should get into dancing instead! Physical exercise + the benefits of music, as referenced above. You may even meet your spouse on the dance floor…

Have an awesome day full of naps, analytical thinking, tacos (because it’s OK to have Taco Thursday), and an abundance of thought-provoking conversations!

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Picture credit.

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