Strategically Plan for Increased Performance

Guest Author, Michael Labrecque, shares a few ways to strategically plan for increased performance.  

What is the most productive part of your day? This question is not as straightforward as you may think and can have tremendous implications on your school’s performance. In his keynote address at the HCInnovation@Work 2017 Conference: The “When” of Work: How the New Science of Timing Can Transform the Employee Experience, Daniel Pink discussed how timing is a science and very much in our control. Most strikingly, time of day effects can explain 20% of the variance in human performance. 

Here are a few key takeaways:

Be deliberate when scheduling team work. When do you hold your Leadership Team Meeting? If is later in the day you may want to think about moving it to the morning. Research has shown that human performance is at its peak in the morning and it is then when we are most likely to be best engaged when dealing with analytic tasks (Pink, 2017).  For example, in a study of over 1,100 prisoners up for parole it was found that when the judge ruled on the case in the morning there was a 70% chance of receiving parole while those heard in the afternoon had less than a 10% of acceptance. This is the result of what is due to decision fatigue (Tierney, 2011). Think how this could affect your team, not to mention when you should schedule surgeries… 

Do not underestimate the power of breaks. It is important to change our mindset around the concept of “break” and stop thinking of them as a deviation from work. Instead, we need to get in the practice of viewing breaks as a part of work. Research shows that performance goes up directly after a break so start scheduling them like you would do meetings and put them on your calendar (Pink, 2017). The effects can be powerful. In fact, going back to our parole example, the same study found, although the overall favorable rulings fell dramatically in the afternoon they did spike back up to 65% following a break or snack (Bryant, 2011). 

Strategically set your testing schedules. Our students are effected by the same time challenges and testing results have proven it. For example, Pink (2017) cited a study where students taking a test in the afternoon without a break was equivalent to those students attending two fewer weeks of school. On the other hand, when students took a test after a break they showed a performance level equivalent to almost four more weeks of school. And, like with the parole cases, students were much more successful taking the tests in the morning than in the afternoon. What implications does this have for student achievement on your campus?

Look forward to Pink’s upcoming book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing which is set for release in January. 

Resources:

Bryant, B. (2011, April 11). Judges are more lenient after taking a break, study finds. Retrieved November 06, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/law/2011/apr/11/judges-lenient-break

Pink, D. (2018, October 25). The "When" of Work: How the New Science of Timing Can Transform the Employee Experience. Lecture presented at HCInnovation@Work 2017 Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Tierney, J. (2011, August 17). Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? Retrieved November 06, 2017, from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html