Melbourne Career Counsellor and Coach

I want to ask my boss for a better contract next year. When is the best time to do that?

Evidence suggests that our decision-making is influenced by when we make them. The science of chronobiology researches variations in our ability to execute particular task. According to a study at the University of Torcuato di Tella in Argentina1, decisions are best made in the morning. Scientists recruited 100 participants who were asked about their routines and who took part in a game where they had to plan for 40 draws. Later in the day those same players were more likely to make the wrong moves.

On certain weekdays we seem to be more prepared to make decisions. For most people Thursday seems to be the ideal day to ask someone for a get a positive answer decision. In a study in the UK2 (of over 88,000 people), it was also found that 11am is the time when we have the ideal level of cortisol and energy to actually make an important decision.

The worst timing for a request would be Friday evening. This is when most people have the least energy left and asking for a raise or a promotion can in fact create stress and therefore lead to avoidance. Obviously, this is just a rough guide and your timing should take into account your own manager’s schedule and her or his habits at work. It might be worthwhile to reflect on her or his mood and overall work rhythm. If you have access to her or his calendar, try to walk in her or his shoes and ask yourself when would be the right day and time.

1 Leone, M.J.; Fernandez Slezak, D.; Golombek, D.; Sigman, M.“Time to decide: Diurnal variations on the speed and quality of human decisions” (2017) Cognition. 158:44-55.

2 Shahram Nikbakhtian et al : Accelerometer-derived sleep onset timing and cardiovascular disease incidence: a UK Biobank cohort study, European Heart Journal – Digital Health, Volume 2, Issue 4, December 2021.

Image courtesy of Mind Vectors by Vecteezy.