What if there was a way you could engineer a good day at work? What would it look like? How would you feel? How would it impact your business?
Most of us don’t tend to ask these questions. We tend to believe that “good days at work” just happen. As a result, we let the power slip away from us.
How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life, is a research-backed guide to getting that power back and using it to engineer the best day at work possible.
What is How To Have a Good Day About?
The most powerful message the book offers is the importance of focusing on the “brains” behind the work. No matter what work situation we are in, we always carry our brain with us. That brain can lead us to better control of our days or distraction. Our brains can lead us to more intentional communication or even more misunderstandings. It all depends on how we use our brain “at work”.
How to Have a Good Day focuses on the two complementary aspects of the brain (automatic vs. intentional). If we are honest with ourselves, our brains “at work” are most often on autopilot. We take the same route to work, often use the same routines to complete our tasks, and respond to work problems the same way. (Go ahead and ask your fellow coworkers.)
This “automatic brain” is a great feature to have, but it can be disastrous when confronted with reality. Working with our “automatic brain” turned on, we are prone to errors, miscommunication, and a general boredom with work. As a result, we tend to engage in behaviors that detract from our mental and physical energy such as multitasking, checking email or Facebook for the umpteenth time, or boring and redundant meetings that leave workers feeling drained.
The way out of this is to maximize our use of the “intentional brain” by planning for it. Instead of rushing off to do another scrambled to-do list, plan for it with a deeper awareness of your actions and communication. Have you scheduled breaks based on your own energy levels? What one task do you need to focus on? What are you telling yourself about this task? Is your current environment hampering the kind of mental mood that you want to create for the work you’re doing?
How to Have a Good Day is the brainchild of author Caroline Webb. Webb is an economist who combines management consulting, coaching and behavioral science to help individuals and businesses tap into the power of social science to make better decisions and ultimately better lives. She is also owner of SevenShift, a high-performance advisory firm for individuals and advisor to McKinsey & Company, a global business advisory firm.
What Was Best About How To Have a Good Day?
The best part of How to Have a Good Day is the amount of curation the book offers. The book combines psychology, economics, and neuroscience in a way that can be a practical resource for anyone wanting to improve some aspect of their personal or professional life. A reader can literally turn to any chapter and find advice that will improve his or her life. The Appendix (Appendix C) at the end of the book is particularly helpful at summarizing the insight the author brilliantly combined from several fields.
What Could Have Been Done Differently
How to Have a Good Day isn’t written in the format of a simple “business self-help” book. It has some academic depth to it, as evidenced by the footnotes at the back. This format may be a hindrance to business leaders who just want some quick productivity tips. Each chapter in the book does offer a short bullet-point summary, but this often requires understanding the concepts mentioned in the chapter. Shorter summaries at the end of each chapter along with illustrations in the book might cater to those readers who need more.
Why Read How To Have a Good Day?
If you are addicted to productivity for personal or professional growth, but tired of books that lack scientific depth, this book might be great for you. It combines social science research in a very unique way offering some rather unique insights on behavior, especially on the human brain while at work. If you ever wondered “Why do I (or other people) act like this at work?” This book leads to a potential intellectual “rabbit hole” you might want to research along with a few practical suggestions to get started.