Monologue: The Best Times to do Various Things (Book Recommendations)

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett

If you’ve ever wondered “When is the best time to interview for a job?” or, “How often should I update my resume?” I’ve got two book recommendations for you that could answer all your job-related—and personal—questions. Listen to get the full scoop!

The Science of Perfect Timing

Katie Corbett holds the book "When"

By Katie Corbett

I’ve always known that, for me, attempting to solve a logic puzzle at midnight is harder than brainstorming short story ideas. What I didn’t think much about is that science backs this up. In my quest to become more productive, I decided to delve deeper into this topic.

I read the book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” by Daniel H. Pink, and learned that chemicals in the body and circadian rhythm can inform how well humans do at various tasks throughout the day. Here are some lessons I learned about myself through applying the lessons in this book:

• I tracked my time for a week. I learned that, in a given 24-hour period, I only need 7 hours of sleep to function optimally.
• I discovered that it is helpful for me to take melatonin at night to fall asleep faster and stay asleep all night.
• I only need one cup of tea in the morning on workdays to attain optimal alertness.
• I figured out that it is good for me to stop work at around 2:30 p.m. in order to avoid the afternoon slump.
• I found that I socialize and network best in the afternoons and evenings.

I encourage you to track your time and observe your habits, likes and dislikes around your routine. Note that preferences could change as you get older or your life circumstances change. (For example, in college, I used to be a night-owl, but have found I have transitioned to more of a morning person as I have gotten older.) What do you notice about yourself that could inform your decisions going forward? What would you like to find out in order to make changes for greater fulfillment and life satisfaction? What goals are you working towards? How do you hope that the science of perfect timing will help you realize them? If you feel like sharing, let me know in the comments.

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You Really Need to Sort Out Your Priorities

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The 4-Hour Workweek"

By Katie Corbett

In the craziness of daily life, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Between work, school, family life, friends and all the other responsibilities that come with adulting, it can be a struggle to get back to what is really important. In “The 4-Hour Workweek,” by Tim Ferriss, I found a tip that changed the way I think about my life and the tasks I need to accomplish each day. It goes something like this:

If someone said you only could work for two more hours, and after that you needed to stop everything and recover from a fatal illness, what would you get done in those two hours? Put another way, if someone held a gun to your head and told you that you could only do two things that day, what would you do?

I know these are extreme questions, but sometimes getting extreme is enough to make you pause and really think about the answers. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I like to stop and ponder those two questions. That way, no matter what else happens that day, I’ll know I’ve accomplished the two things—or the two hours of work—that really needed to get done.

I have a long to-do list today, but I know that I absolutely had to write this blog post and I’m planning to make some phone calls as soon as I’ve finished writing it. So if the world ended, or I got stuck in traffic, or my computer crashed, I will have at least gotten those two things done. To me, that’s worth it—not to mention a lot less stressful.

So, what two things do you absolutely need to get done today? What would you do if you could only work for two more hours?

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