Susan Cain loves her staff at Quiet Revolution so much that she doesn’t see them all morning.
Three years after Cain released her 2012 smash hit “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” the lawyer-turned-writer is on a mission to bring the same qualities she pushed in “Quiet” — thoughtfulness, patience, silence — into schools and offices.
Step one at her new company: No morning meetings.
“We’re an introverted company,” she says. “Everyone has the mornings to themselves.”
The idea here is that people who strongly identify as introverts do their best work and restore most of their energy through sustained periods of isolated, quiet thought.
A sociable morning that’s chock-full of chitchat is quite possibly the harshest way for an introvert to start the day. In fact, it may be a harsh way for anyone to start the day.
We’re at our creative peaks right at the beginning of the day, research suggests, which also happens to be when our energy levels are highest. Early afternoon meetings are the most successful because we’re still alert enough to trade ideas, while mornings can be kept free to hammer out specific projects.
What’s more, a great deal of inquiry into willpower finds that humans have a limited amount of it. Exhaust all of it early in the day, and by the afternoon we’re throwing caution to the wind.
Mounting research into the science of productivity also finds hormones can play a deciding role in how well we do our jobs. One key player is cortisol, a stress hormone. Over the course of a day, its levels fluctuate somewhat predictably.
We get a surge of cortisol early in the morning, which, according to some scientists, helps prepare us for a busy day ahead.
But what begins as a high-energy morning, where ideas come quickly and easily, gradually slows to a thoughtful early afternoon and a sleepy end-of-day. That “2:30 feeling” isn’t just your imagination.
Employees are at their most productive when they can sync energy levels with their willpower — in the early mornings. Once everyone’s had time to scarf down their lunch, the groupthink can begin.
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