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Work in 48-minute increments

The Success Begins Today blog suggests working in 48-minute increments with a 12 minute break each hour. Set a timer for 48 minutes. Close out all distractions and work continuously for 48 minutes. When the timer goes off, get up and stretch, get coffee, use the restroom etc, in the following 12 minutes. Repeat as necessary. Don reports that this technique repeated four times a day allowed him to write a 200 page book in just two weeks.

Timer-based work blocks is the only way I get through big projects; however, having just finished writing a book, I can say that even this effective technique won’t help most mere mortals (at least this one) produce 200 pages in two weeks. But over the course of a few months? Absolutely. — Gina Trapani

The Power of 48 Minutes [Success Begins Today] found in LifeHacker

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5 Comments for Work in 48-minute increments

Guest Participant | September 30, 2006 at 4:13 pm

I agree

While I was in the military one of the concepts that existed was the fifty minute hour. With this concept one would take a break every fifty minutes and start work again at the top of the hour. This approach almost always worked. Individuals were able to stay focused and a lot of work got done. While the fifty minute hour adds two minutes to the approach, the concept is similar. Taking frequent breaks so that when you are working, your are working efficiently.

Barb McDonald | October 5, 2006 at 2:00 pm

Implications for learning

There’s some pedagogy floating around (not sure how well it’s validated) about people remembering the first and last things they learned. Some folks who teach about “How Adults Learn” suggest that frequent breaks is a way to increase retention. If this theory is true, then that may also have implications around the benefit of asynchronous conversations. Will Thalheimer has done a good deal of research on the benefit of spacing learning events. Will’s catalog The title of the paper is: Spacing Learning Events Over Time: What the Research Says.

Bill Bruck | October 5, 2006 at 2:20 pm

Interesting. BTW, I remember research on recency and primacy effects from the social psychologists on which things people remember – but it wasn’t quite learning – more memory.

Barb McDonald | October 6, 2006 at 1:59 pm

How different are memory and learning?

Don’t we need to remember things in order to learn them? :)

Bill Bruck | October 6, 2006 at 2:16 pm




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