Circadian sensitivity – morning people and afternoon people in law departments

Some of you in law departments wake up quickly, pile into work and tackle your tough problems before sip your Starbucks. Others of you, according to the Atlantic, Dec. 2007 at 28, rev up by the afternoon, push through past closing time, but can barely manage to open emails in the morning hours.

Our inner metabolic clocks operate on different time zones, and that fact affects how we think. Based on the research reported, “Early risers prefer to gather knowledge from concrete information. They reach conclusions through logic and analysis. Night owls are more imaginative and open to unconventional ideas, preferring the unknown and favoring intuitive leaps on their way to reaching conclusions.”

Not just cognitive styles differ between morning people and night people, but social behavior too. Assuming some truth to these findings, managers in law departments ought to bear in mind the internal clocks of people on their teams. You might hate 8:00 AM meetings, but others may thrive on them (See my posts of Nov. 8, 2007 on psychometric instruments, including those that plumb cognitive styles.).

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