Time Hacking for Engineers

book cover

Twitter Sentiment Study


Skeptic Says

skeptic crop
  • Results might not be that accurate due to twitter character limit
  • People are not their most authentic selves on social media 😮

Day Reconstruction Method

Skeptic Says

skeptic crop
  • So what? Sometimes people are in a good mood, sometimes bad, whatever, can’t always be happy.
  • Mood is an internal state, surely that couldn’t have external consequences… could it?

From Mood Swings to Stock Swings

stock-mood stock swings

Skeptic Says

skeptic crop
  • Ok, so maybe moods affect outcomes in high stakes situations...
  • But I'm not CEO of a Fortune 500 company, how does this affect "regular" people?

The Linda Problem

Linda is thirty-one years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. In college, Linda majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and participated in antinuclear demonstrations. Which is more likely?

  • a. Linda is a bank teller.
  • b. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.


Skeptic Says

skeptic crop

Yeah yeah I get it, do important stuff in the morning.

The Coin Problem

Ernesto is a dealer in antique coins. One day someone brings him a beautiful bronze coin. The coin has an emperor’s head on one side and the date 544 BC stamped on the other. Ernesto examines the coin—but instead of buying it, he calls the police. Why?


Vigilance ⬇️   Insight ⬆️

Summary So Far...

For most people, mood oscillates during the day experienced as a Peak, Trough, and Rebound.

Morning (peak): Analytic

Later (rebound): Insight

Skeptic Says

skeptic crop

kk, analytic stuff in the morning, insight work later in the day.

Determine Your Chronotype

  1. What time do you usually go to sleep?
  2. What time do you usually wake up?
  3. What is the midpoint of those two times?
sleep in

Larks, Owls, and Third Birds

chronotype chart

Owls are Different

  • More vigilant at 8pm than 8am
  • Peak much later in the day
  • Better at insight problems early in the morning

Optimizing Your Day

  1. What's your chronotype?
  2. What kind of work are you doing?
  3. What time of day is it?
when chart

Software Engineering Tasks

  • Analysis, Design Analytic
  • Build/Implementation Analytic
  • Code Reviews Analytic
  • Debugging Insight
  • Checking email, slack Mundane
  • Standup Mundane
  • Admin (eg: Jira) Mundane


  • Remote Work + Async = Schedule Control
  • Team of larks & third birds? Try standup in the afternoon or Slack
  • Have to do analytic work during non peak hours? Awareness + slow down