It surprised me how well it works: I started to rest more during my work day and I am able to do more things. How is that possible?
The name of my blog is “I help companies work smarter.” I help not just companies. Figuring out how to make anything work better, faster, or more efficient is my passion. This is leads to another idea I am blogging a lot about: How do use the time we have in the best way.
I already told you a story how choosing the right thing is much more important than working fast. There is one more important thing I found that keeps me productive:
Few years ago, I did it all wrong. I tried to work as many hours in a row as possible, skipping breaks. I felt very productive, but in reality, my energy level went down a lot after a while and I did not accomplish much. So I did some research to find out how to keep my energy maximized. Alternating chunks of focused work and break is something that is obvious. What is less obvious is how long these chunks should be. I tried pomodoro technique. That is usually 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of rest. This did not work for me, as 25 minutes is a short time and I tend to skip breaks when I enjoyed my current tasks. I also tried chunks of 90 minutes, but this seemed too long.
Then I found this article. It says that research proves that it is most productive to alternate 52 minutes of work and 17 minutes of rest. 17 minutes of rest after 52 minutes? That seemed too long. But I gave it a shot.
The perfect work rest cycle
The result surprised me. 52 minutes is a perfect time frame. It is long enough to accomplish something and short enough to not to get too tired. 17 minutes is a perfect rest time. Using this scheme, I can easily keep working for 12 hours a day or more without geting tired. Unfortunately, I can use the strategy for 1 day a week when I work from home and have no meetings. It is still great though.
There is one more thing that is necessary for this to work. I have to stand up and leave the screen during the break. I usually do some housework, stretch, eat, excercise or have a short walk. Checking Facebook for 17 minutes does not count, unfortunately.
A year of experiments
If you like experimenting with productivitiy, you should read a Life of productivity. It is a blog of Chris Bailey, who spend full year doing productivity experiments. This is the best resource about productivity I know. By the way, reading about productivity is my favorite way of procrastination 😉
How do you rest during your workday? What time periods of focus work for you? Please let me know and I will share your experience here.