Fiona Smith Columnist

Fiona writes on workplace issues, including management, psychology, workplace design, human resources and recruitment. She is a former Work Space editor at The Australian Financial Review and has also covered property, technology, architecture and general news.

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Timing is everything: Plan success with some clock-watching

Published 26 February 2013 11:39, Updated 26 February 2013 14:19

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Timing is everything: Plan success with some clock-watching

Meetings early in the week can be better because people aren’t up against deadlines as much. Photo: Tamara Voninski

It is all about the timing. Did you know that? If you want to be successful in your endeavours, check to make sure you are doing things at the optimum hour.

People are funny creatures, we like to think there is a formula for everything – even when it is plainly ridiculous. But in the spirit of being helpful, I’ve compiled a list of recommendations to help you plan your week . . . if you are so inclined.

  • 1. Be your most gorgeous. Women beware, you look at your worst mid-week so, maybe, work from home on Wednesdays.
  • “It’s fascinating that 3.30pm on a Wednesday is the time women look their oldest,” a spokeswoman from the St Tropez skincare brand told The Telegraph in the UK. “Combine the highest stress levels of the week on a Wednesday with the natural mid-afternoon slump and it seems that’s why women can look older than their years.”
  • I wonder what day men worry about their wrinkles?
  • 2. Sell yourself in the morning. People who are interviewed in the morning are rated more highly than those whose appointments are later in the day, according to a study by the Harvard Business School and The Wharton School.
  • The implication is that the interviewers are burnt out by the afternoon, but I wonder if they are also cranky at being denied a siesta after their lunch.
  • 3. Read me. If you send an email or newsletter at the right time, you can increase the chances someone will actually cast their eye over it. The best windows of opportunity are 8am to 10am and 3pm to 4 pm.
  • 4. Let’s meet. How about 3pm on a Tuesday? It is early in the week, so people have not got to the point where they are worried about finishing all their tasks, and it is not so late that they will fret about getting home on time, according to online scheduling service, When Is Good.
  • 5. Get a “yes”. People are more inclined to give you what you want when their stomach is full. According to a study of parole decisions by Israeli judges, they are more likely to set prisoners free right after breakfast and lunch.
  • There are two theories about why this is the case: that it is the impact of fluctuations in blood sugar levels; and that making decisions is taxing and they need a break to replenish themselves.
  • 6. Facebook Tuesdays. Most brands use a Friday to update their Facebook page, but the network gets flooded with messages and it is hard to cut through. Tuesdays are the best days for engagement – also a good day if you want Twitter retweets.
  • 7. Think. The best time for cognitive work is late morning, when working memory, alertness and concentration improve. The best time for a power nap, on the other hand, is 2pm, according to Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California.

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