O'Reilly logo
live online training icon Live Online training

Life-Hack Your Day

Understanding chronobiology and its link to your productivity

Topic: Career Development
Connie Missimer

All humans—and virtually all animals—have an internal clock with attendant “best” and “worst” times to do various tasks. Decades of research have found circadian rhythms in all cultures and posit three main chronotypes, depending on when a person starts their day. Evidence suggests that trying to do things at the wrong time for your circadian rhythm can be harmful, both within a company and in life generally.

Join Connie Missimer to discover your own chronotype so that you can figure out what time of day to do certain tasks for the best results. While knowing your chronotype is useful for overall life-hacking, you’ll also learn how to apply these findings in the workplace.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • That “when” is as important as “how” or “what” a person does
  • That we’re wrong in assuming we can keep the same level of skill and attention all day, as borne out by evidence
  • That there’s a close correlation between alertness and emotional valence
  • That there are certain times of day when it’s a poor idea to judge others (for a job or for a performance review, for example)

And you’ll be able to:

  • Learn your chronotype for overall life-hacking
  • Apply these new findings in the workplace
  • Understand the importance of breaks during the workday

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re an executive or senior leader in any area of your company, and you’re looking for ways to improve worker productivity and well-being that are science based.
  • You’re a manager or individual contributor in any area of your company and want to make the most of the limited hours in a day.
  • You’re head of a growing company, and you need to know how to ensure high morale within your workforce.

Prerequisites

Recommended preparation:

  • Please write answers to the following questions: The night before a “free” day (not a workday), when do you usually go to bed? And when do you usually get up the next day?

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Connie Missimer is a philosopher and an expert in critical thinking. Connie’s fascinated by empirical findings, especially strong counterintuitive ones, relating to daily work. She's the author of influential articles on her empirically based theory of critical thinking and has conducted workshops both nationally and internationally. Previously, Connie was a senior manager at AT&T, where she advised cell phone and tablet partners Samsung, HTC, Microsoft, and Google on making their products more user friendly, and worked on MS Learning and Windows and in the Tablet Group at Microsoft. She holds over a dozen patents. Connie is the author of a number of books, including Good Arguments: An Introduction to Critical Thinking, now in its fourth edition, which offers the basics in analyzing theories and arguments, and her latest, Critical Thinking at Work: Does Your Company Pound or Flex? She holds an MS in philosophical literature from UC Berkeley and an MS in human-centered design and engineering from the University of Washington.

Schedule

The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Presentation and group discussion: Chronobiology defined; a bit of history—the procrastinating astronomer hides a plant and makes a surprising discovery

The evidence (20 minutes)

  • Presentation and group discussion: Evidence for this phenomenon

Determining your chronotype (20 minutes)

  • Presentation and group discussion: The chronotypes—Early Bird, Owl, and Third Bird; calculating your chronotype; what percentage of the population is each type; implications for the workplace and life generally

Break (10 minutes)

How to have (the best shot at) a great day (25 minutes)

  • Presentation, hands-on exercises and group discussion: Approaches to help you have a great day—morning, afternoon, and evening

How to give others a good day (25 minutes)

  • Presentation and group discussion: Approaches for giving others a good day

Wrap-up and Q&A (10 minutes)

  • Presentation and group discussion: What findings on chronobiology mean for us and our company; ways to bring this understanding to the workplace