Episode 140.5 – Green Apple Slice


Research Shows a Simple Way to Increase Your Engagement at Work


The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Harvard Business Review article, “Research Shows a Simple Way to Increase Your Engagement at Work” by Michael Parke and Justin Weinhardt.


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    This is John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices. And I’m here with cohost Rachel Fisch, everybody, Rachel.

    Rachel: Hey, John. How are you doing?

    John: Doing great, and the crowd, the live audience that we recorded from were just —

    Rachel: It’s going wild.

    John: Just enough everybody. She’s, all right. She’s just here as a person. Goodness. Yes, but every Monday, we always get together and talk through an article we found online. I found this one on Harvard Business Review and it was Research Shows a Simple Way to Increase Your Engagement at Work. It was an article by Michael Parke and Justin Weinhardt. I thought this is one of those — we haven’t had an intervention for Rachel in a while. I thought that this might be a good one.

    Rachel: I didn’t even get that from this article and you’re calling me out, holy smokes. I’m actually at home for the whole week.

    John: It’s actually more for me. This one is totally for me.

    Rachel: Okay, sure.

    John: Because it’s talking about how to increase engagement is to actually plan your day. I am terrible at this. I’m absolutely terrible at this.

    Rachel: I feel like it’s a little bit of a bait-and-switch because you read the article — you read the title and you start to read the article and it looks like it’s going to be kind of same old, same old about this whole engagement culture blah, blah. Then later down it goes, we investigated two types of daily planning and how they influence engagement. Planning engagement, what? And then it goes off onto this whole other thing that actually fascinates me.

    John: Right.

    Rachel: I feel like the top part of the article really doesn’t do it justice. They talked about basically the two different types of planning neither of which John is any good at. One is the time management planning which is what normal people do, normal people haven’t been doing, prioritizing, scheduling test. When we’re talking to a lot of accounting firms, this is how they run their day or professionals usually time based, this is kind of what they can expect day in and day out with their work. Then we’ve got the second type of planning in contingent planning. I’m like, what does contingent planning? In which people consider the possible disruptions or interruptions that they might face in their workday and device a plan to address it.

    John: Here’s the thing, on the first one, I’ll make a list, but the very first item is make a list. So I can cross it out as I’m doing it. The second one is, I’m always the source of someone’s interruption. That’s why I know we have the contingent plan. Make a list it’s already scratched out, I’m already done with my list because I scratched everything out as I was writing it.

    Rachel: I’m sure there are other people who might be listening who also write things on their list that they have already done just to have the joy of marking them off their list.

    John: Those are my people. But these guys, they went the next step even and they actually tracked 187 employees from a variety of industries and a variety of experience. And they found some interesting stuff, just how it had such a strong positive effect on their daily engagement and they were also more productive.

    Rachel: Absolutely. One of the things that fascinated me. First of all, that there’s this different types of planning, because I too suck I both. But also that it was talking about the positive effects of the contingent planning remaining beyond the positive effects of the time management planning which I also thought was quite fascinating.

    John: No, absolutely. I completely agree. Also what I found really fascinating was just how a large percentage of an employee’s daily planning about 30%, it differs from one workday to the next day which means that you can’t consistently employ the same plan every single day.

    Rachel: Right. What I was going to say for time management planning, as humans tend to over-anticipate what all we’re going to get done, if you have a 100 things on your list, you will probably not get them all done in one day and yet you always over-estimate what you’re actually going to be able to accomplish.

    John: Right, exactly. And so at the bottom of the article, it talks through how to go through this in a step by step and just at the beginning of each day or they even recommend the night before which I’ve read from some places is just to think through day.

    Rachel: That’s too smart for me. I can’t do that.

    John: Right, I mean I don’t even know what I’m going to have for breakfast today. But then you also consider what type of day you anticipate having and is John could have visit or not, so then are there going to be interruptions? Few interruptions, then do some of the bigger heavy lifting things that you can actually focus on and take it from there. Yeah, if you like to read the whole article and get more into the data that they showed there, that we were unable to touch on, go to greenapplepodcast.com and the article is there and links to all the other Green Apple Slices episodes. They’re all the point five, with the number. That’s it. Rachel, thank you so much. I’m going to go plan the rest of the week.

    John: But I hope you have a great rest of the week and everybody listening as well.

    Rachel: You too, John. Talk to you later.

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