Experimenting with 50 Minutes Rule

I’ve just come across this post by John Richardson:

50 minutes has changed my life. The concept of working in a focused manner for 50 minutes and then taking a 10 minute break has revolutionized the way I work. I find that I am much more productive when I work in this manner. Instead of multi-tasking mania, this focused approach has led to single-tasking nirvana.

Having read that, yesterday I decided to give it a try. I’m now in the midst of reading week, and I’m busy preparing for the exams next week. So I tried to use this 50 minutes rule for my study. I studied hard for 50 minutes, and then took 10 minutes break. In that 50 minutes time I focused on only that one task (study), while in the 10 minutes break I could do anything I like.

I must say that the result has been promising! I felt that my study time was more productive than usual. I absorbed more yesterday than in any previous day. I think there are three reasons for this:

  1. Focus on only single task
    Previously, I often got distracted by emails, news, or something suddenly came to my mind. This time, I turned off the computer so I could fully concentrate on only one thing.
  2. 50 minutes is long enough
    50 minutes is long enough to get myself deeply focused before the break. With shorter amount of time, maybe I won’t be as focused.
  3. There is “deadline pressure”
    Setting a clear amount of time gave me a form of “deadline pressure”. It made my brain think that I had limited amount of time so I must work harder.

Well, that’s my impression from the first day of experiment. I will keep experimenting with this rule. The next challenge will be working with the computer. The distraction challenges would be higher. How can I get rid of them? Maybe by turning off the Internet?

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