The Power of When

Recently, I heard an interview with Michael Breus, author of The Power of When. In it he emphasizes the importance of  knowing your chronotype.  (A ‘chronotype’ is a person’s natural inclination towards certain times of day for either sleeping, or being most alert and energetic.) His point was we should not only know our natural rhythms, but also proactively order our day so it’s activities are more in sync with our individual biological clock.

In his book, he writes about how (in relation to your chronotype) there is an optimal time of the day for pretty much everything. From eating, to sleeping, to exercising, to studying, to doing certain kinds of work or play: there are times of the day when we are individually most suited for certain activities. And being in tune with these daily rhythms can help us not only do what we do better, but may even make it more enjoyable as well.

From a Day to a Life

His advice focused on our rhythms throughout the day, but I think the same concept is important to consider on a much broader scale. The big idea is that when we do something can sometimes be almost as important as what we’re doing.

Just like all of us have different biological clocks, and may perform differently throughout the day, so too each of us are in unique stages and seasons of life. And the reality is there are seasons of life that are more conducive to certain activities than they are to others.

There may be activities that are good in themselves, but may not be appropriate for this moment in life. Or on the other hand, there may be certain unique opportunities that we have right now that we should take advantage of before our current stage of life changes.

A young mother or father, for instance, may not be to do all the extra activities they once did, due to the extra time demands in the home. And that’s okay. But they can try to make the most of that season that they find themselves in.

Embracing this seasonal aspect of life can help free us from the guilt we may experience when we’re not able to do everything we want to in a given time. It can also motivate us to take advantage of the opportunities the current season offers.

Ultimately, this isn’t about good activities vs. bad activities, but rather, which ones make the most sense in the current stage we’re in. Because wisdom in life is about more than just knowing what to do; it’s also about knowing when to do it.