When: peak, trough, and recovery

“…if we recognize that our cognitive abilities don’t stay the same over the course of a day, that they change in predictable ways, and that when we do something depends on what we’re doing, then we should be moving our analytic work to the peak, our administrative work to the trough, and our insight and creative work to the recovery. And it’s that simple. And what the research tells us also is this: that time of day explains about 20% of the variance in how people perform on cognitive tasks.”

—Daniel Pink, “Daniel Pink — How to Make Better Decisions and Be More Creative“, The Tim Ferriss Show, 2018-03-26


I wish I knew what research Daniel Pink was talking about here. Obvious solution: reading his new book, When. I was going to avoid non-fiction for a while but there’s a copy sitting at the St. Louis County Library, so…

Anyway. What he mentioned regarding the peak, trough, and recovery—if you’ve been alive for a full day or more, you could match these terms to their respective segments of your day without any further explanation—makes sense to me. There are periods of the day that are better for suited for different types of work. It’s obvious. No one needs to be told that. But listening to the explanation revealed to me a bit that I hadn’t considered: why not plan for those periods that you know will be there. Do the work that requires deeper thinking in the peak. Do the drudge work that doesn’t require much thinking in the trough. Do the creative work in the recovery. It’s obvious after being pointed out.

So: lunchtime run to the library tomorrow.

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