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This time varies from few-millionths of a second to millions of years for different radioactive isotopes.
This is why it is such a big concern when a nuclear submarine sinks... (By the way, you are mostly Carbon-12, which is not radioactive.
It is used for human and animal bone and other organic material.
Specific changes in its amino acid structure (racemization or epimerization) which occur at a slow, relatively uniform rate, are measured after the organism's death.
When it comes to dating archaeological samples, several timescale problems arise.
Yes, radioactive isotopes present in rocks and other ancient material decay atom by atom at a steady rate, much as clocks tick time away.
Anthropologists, archeologists, and paleontologists also use radioactive isotopes to date mummies, pottery, and dinosaur fossils. It is no more complicated than playing a dice game! Roll the Dice & Use Radiometric Dating to Find Out.
It comes from cosmic rays that rain down on the earth (and us) from outer space.
Geologists use those radioactive isotopes to date volcanic ash or granite formations like the giant Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.