Book: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, by Daniel Pink. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

I read this book two times. The first time I had no context and was just looking for something to improve myself. The second time I read it to review everything I used and implemented so I could quote the book when writing an article about how to manage your energy to be more effective.

The book provides amazing insights if you like to base your decisions on scientific research. Daniel pink read dozens of scientific research related to When it’s better to do things. You can read the papers yourself if you want, the references are there. I really like the tone of the book because it’s not showing “how you should do things” but instead it shows that there are these studies saying that people usually do better when doing in that particular time.

As I’m tracking my data for a while now, I can confirm that much of what was written works for me. It was probably the reason why it got 5 stars, BTW.

I mentioned some things I applied in my routine after reading this book in my productivity workflow post.

Here is my raw notes about the book:

  • Mention of the Linda problem (feminist banker)
  • Mornings guard us on alert (inhibitory control)
  • Mood follows a common pattern: peak, trough, rebound
  • Creative tasks are better done in the non-optimal time, at the rebound.
  • At the beginning of the day, we tend to do better doing Linda problems (analytical ones) that requires focus, sharpness, vigilance
  • At the end of the day, we do better doing coin problems that require less inhibition and resolve
  • For each three-peak, down, rebound people, there’s one rebound, trough, peak. Know yourself.
  • Put the most important task into your peak time and the second most important into the rebound
  • Don’t let mundane task interfere with your peak time
  • Type, task, time method to determine your peak
  • Complete the mct questionary online (
  • Print the table available at and use it to understand your type
  • Exercise in the morning to lose weight. When you exercise after eating you tend to lose 20% less weight because you will consume the energy you acquired in the food instead of fat
  • Exercise in the morning to boost mood. Even walking the dog is enough
  • Exercise in the morning to build strength. Testosterone peaks in the morning
  • Exercise in the evening to avoid lesions. Your muscles tend to be warmer.
  • Exercising in the evening feels more productive in the afternoon
  • Drink a cup of water right after waking up, you are usually dehydrated because of sleeping
  • Avoid coffee right after waking up. Caffeine interferes with the production of cortisol. Drinking it right after waking up makes you more immune to caffeine effects.
  • Early morning coffee increases our tolerance for caffeine, so you have to drink more to enjoy its benefits. Wait from 1 hour to 90 minutes before drinking it
  • Breaks during the work time help with mood and productivity, even micro-breaks. Take some time to walk around every hour.
  • Don’t skip breakfast! There’s no scientific proof of that.
  • Lunch is the most important meal of the day. Don’t eat while working, don’t browse social media while eating, use that time to do focus on things that are not part of the office
  • Take naps to increase performance. It has to be between 10 and 20 minutes, more than that you will wake up sleepy. Coffee before the nap helps to boots even more since caffeine takes around 40 minutes to take effect
  • Schedule breaks just like you schedule other tasks
  • Plan your nap. A good time is around 7 hours after you woke up. It’s your least productive time
  • Take a coffee before the nap. The caffeine will fully engage after 25 minutes
  • If possible, make the naps a routine, otherwise, use it when you feel sleepy
  • Micro breaks: get a smaller water bottle. It will make you get up to refill it
  • Walk in nature as a break. If you have a dog use him as an excuse UCLA micro-meditation tips
  • It’s important to know when to start. The beginning of cycles (week, month, year) are usually a chance for a fresh start and motivation
  • Some starts are out of control. Maybe you’ll finish your graduation in the middle of a crisis.
  • In a hiring program, try to be the first if you are above average and try to be the last if you are an average candidate for the position
  • A U curve is really common. We do better at the beginning, have a trough, and get better in the end. It appears in many kinds of activities.
  • Midpoint effect. Be aware of it and transform oh-no in oh-oh’s. Use it to motivate you. Oh-no demotivates and oh-oh motivate according to studies.
  • We usually perceive the endings more than the rest. In an experiment, they create a guy who is a good CEO for decades but changed in the last years. They had another scenario where the same CEO was bad for decades but good in his last months. We usually consider the better ending as the most moral. We believe the best of people are revealed at the end
  • We usually narrow our social circles near endings. Change of cities, aging, etc. People usually enjoy “the last” thing more than the others. If you give one chocolate each time but you say: “This is the last one”, there’s a big chance that he/she will like it the most
  • A good ending is not always a happy ending in a traditional sense. In Pixar movies, the main character usually achieves what he wants only to realize it’s not what he needs
  • When to quit your job: do you want to be there for your next work year anniversary? Think about it and start looking for something new in case you don’t.
  • Consider moving if your job doesn’t provide challenge and autonomy
  • Does your boss allow you to do your best work?
  • Are you outside the 3-4 salary bump window?
  • Does your daily work align with your long-term goals?
  • End the days by recording what you have done and planning the new day. If the day was bad, the recording will help to show how much you achieved.
  • To train sync, find a person to play with. She has to say work at the same time as you. If you say banana and she says bicycle, you now have to say another word that mixes banana and bicycle.
  • The jigsaw technique. Divide the group into pieces and each piece studies part of a subject, then all of them reunite and explain to each other their part.