Is It Better To “Sprinkle” Or To “Chunk”?

  • Category: Running Your BusinessTribe Building

As you’ll discover in The Business of Authority episode that drops on February 3rd, I’m 100% engrossed in Adam Grant’s book Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success.

He offers up multiple ideas that touch on building authority by giving.

Like whether to chunk or sprinkle.

Sprinkling is performing your giving throughout the course of your workweek while chunking is concentrating it into a chunk—typically all in one day.

One study by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky had people perform five random acts of kindness every week for six weeks. One group sprinkled it out over five days each week and the other chunked their giving into a single day every week.

Who do you suppose was happier?

Turns out, the chunkers achieved gains in happiness while the sprinklers did not.

The researchers speculated that “spreading them over the course of a week might have diminished their salience and power or made them less distinguishable from participants’ habitual kind behavior.”

A consulting study by Harvard Professor Leslie Perlow produced similar results for a team of software engineers who kept interrupting each other for help while completing a high stress project—chunking their “open for questions” time increased productivity for two thirds of the engineers.

So if you consider the giving portion of your authority building—whether that means writing a thought piece, recording a podcast or offering your expertise to help out a member of your tribe—might you actually be happier AND more productive by batching it all into a single day of the week?

Curious to hear about your experience with this…