If you read our To-Do List article, you know we’re big fans of using lists to help narrow focus and improve productivity. But what if we told you adding a simple equation to the mix could increase productivity while tricking your brain into looking forward to the work?
How To Do It
The premise is simple. Start by making your To-Do List, and start crossing things off the list using the (10+2)*5 rule.
Wait, what? Allow us to explain
Start with 10 minutes of solid work. Once those 10 minutes are up, take 2 minutes to procrastinate. Visit your favorite site, get some coffee, eat a snack; whatever you do, there is no work allowed. Once those 2 minutes are up, go back to 10 minutes of work. Repeat the cycle for a total of 5 times, and you have exactly an hour of productivity with spaces in between to give your brain a rest.
You can get a full description of the rules for this system here, but the most important thing to remember is this: don’t skip any breaks. By taking the time to procrastinate, you force your brain out of inertia and into wanting to get things done.
The End Result
After you’ve put the (10+2)*5 rule to use long enough for your brain to recognize the pattern, you’ll start anticipating both the breaks and the work cycles. And you may (and can) eventually find yourself skipping the break, forging on through your to-do list with increased productivity.
The three numbers can be changed to whatever you like with a bit of experimentation, especially if you want to structure your whole working day around them. The important thing is to maintain the consistency of the break-to-work ratio long enough for your brain to be permanently tricked into wanting to do work.