The best time of day to ask for a pay rise

The best time of day to ask for a pay rise


[1 minute blog] You know the feeling - that sinking sensation in the pit of your stomach just before you go in and ask your boss for a pay rise. That hope that you might finally get what you deserve, alongside the horrible feeling that he’ll simply say no, or fob you off with an excuse, and then your dreams of a half-decent raise have gone for another year.

As it turns out, there is a real science to the particular time of day to asking for something important.

Early mornings are best

Researchers at Columbia University studied decisions taken by judges over whether to grant parole to prisoners. On average each judge approved parole about a third of the time. But here’s the amazing thing.  Prisoners who appeared early in the morning got parole 65% of the time.  And those who appeared late in the day won parole less than 10% of the time.

Why was this?  It’s thought our ability to make good decisions depends on our levels of glucose in the body. Glucose = Willpower, as Roy Baumeister tells us in his book on the subject. The thinking is that early in the morning, the judges were well fed and rested and had the ability to make good (and potentially risky) decisions on parole. As the day went on, their brains and bodies used up glucose, and researchers concluded they would look for ways to conserve energy (and would pick the less risky choice).

There were fluctuations through the day too. For instance, just before lunch your chances of getting parole are 20%. But just after lunch – 60%!

What does all this mean for us?

pay rise Tony Wrighton blog

If you’ve got something important – a meeting, a pitch, a job interview, asking your boss for a payrise; schedule it for early in the morning, or straight after lunch.

Schedule your important meeting for early in the morning, or straight after lunch.

Don’t schedule it for: just before lunch, or at the end of the day.

Either that or bring a chocolate bar in for your boss….

And when you are making an important decision yourself, make sure you are well fed and your glucose levels are adequate.


For more on this why not check out Roy Baumeister’s book on Willpower.

And for some extra get-up-and-go, you might be interested in my Mo month – how to supercharge your MOtivation and MOmentum.

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