When should you schedule your board meetings?

Published: November 13, 2018

Read Time: 3 minutes

When should you schedule your board meetings? In this short video Raph Goldsworthy (Managing Director, Better Boards) talks about how your chronotype and the chronotype of each board member should influence when you choose to schedule your board meetings.

Key Points

  • Due to our chronotype there are optimal times we are best at strategic thinking and decision-making.
  • Looking at the chronotype’s of your board members can help you consider the optimal time of day to hold board meetings


Hi there. I’m Raphael from Better Boards. Today I’m giving it a shot at doing some video tips on how to improve your board.
The first tip that I wanted to hit and discuss was really around the time of day you’re holding your board meetings. A lot of board meetings, especially in the not-for-profit space, just due to the time people have available, are held in the evening. But the question is, is this actually the best time of day to be holding your meetings?

Research in a recent book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” by Daniel Pink, discusses our individual chronotypes (chronotype is the propensity of a person to sleep in any given 24-hour period,) and how that influences the quality of the person’s thinking and decision-making throughout the day. Pink identified three basic categories of chronotype: early-rising larks, night-dwelling owls, and what he called third birds, which are kind of in between those two.

Based on evidence that he collected from a variety of disciplines and cognitive studies, he demonstrated in his book how third birds and larks are best able to make quality decisions in the mid-to-late morning, while in the case of the night owls, this generally happens in sort of the reverse. He suggests that the majority of us are actually, because we fall into that third birds and larks, best able to focus and analyse in the morning, and we’re able to be looser and more creative in our thinking late in the afternoon.

So, what does this mean for your board? I think this really means that it’s worth considering when you hold your board meetings. Is it actually the ideal time for actual strategic discussion and decision-making? Is the evening the best time?

You could look, potentially, at the different chronotypes of each of your board members as a group and just see if, in the group as a whole, is there a common pattern? And that may influence how you might think about when you hold the meeting.

Now, it’s not to say that you should just straight-up and ditch having board meetings in the evening, but I think it’s important, if we want to improve our boards, that we try and question some of the basic assumptions or legacies that we have. And this is one of them. It’s really common for boards to have evening/late-afternoon meetings. But the question becomes is that the correct time?

I’ll leave you with it to ponder and let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to cover in these tips. Thanks for watching.


Managing Director

Raphael is the Managing Director of Better Boards Australasia. He regularly writes and speaks on leveraging the power of business for social good, governance, leadership, technology and not-for-profits. During his time at Better Boards, Raphael has helped hundreds of not-for-profit directors and executives on their journey to master the Art & Science of the Boardroom. When he’s not in the office Raphael can be found on mountain biking tracks around Australia and New Zealand.

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