Master Personal Effectiveness with Time Management
Part 3 of 5
The Mysterious Rule of 52 and 17
Concentration is like a muscle; it shouldn’t be overworked and needs rest in order to function to its full potential.
Nobody can be 100% focused and productive all day. Neither our bodies nor our brains are designed to work without breaks. Instead, we can learn how to manage our time in a way that maximises our attention span to boost our productivity and personal effectiveness.
Not only does being productive allow you to simply get more work done, managing your time in a way that allows you to be more productive helps you:
- Avoid missed deadlines
- Stop procrastinating
- Reduce stress
- Have a better work-life balance
- Produce better quality of work
What is the Significance of 52 and 17
The research company The Muse recently looked into the time management habits of the most productive people to pinpoint exactly what it is that allows them to achieve such incredible results without working more hours than their other colleagues.
The study found that the one thing that all high performers had in common was the fact that they all took regular breaks. On average, they worked for 52 minutes and then rested for 17 minutes. This allowed them to retain a high level of productivity over the span of their work day.
By having this 52 17 approach, they treated their work like sprints - pure focus and hard work, rest, pure focus and hard work again etc - and this was the secret to their success.
How Do Breaks Boost Productivity?
Breaks are a cognitive necessity; they allow you to replenish your energy, attention, and motivation so that when you start working again, you can produce great results.
According to research by Forbes, 38% of employees aren’t encouraged to take breaks even though studies show that “taking breaks refreshes the mind and eases the stress and exhaustion arising from working for long stretches”.
However, not everyone’s personal definitions of what ‘breaks’ and ‘focused work’ are are equally effective...
How Can You Make Your Breaks and Focused Work Time More Effective?
Whilst the 52 17 rule worked for The Muse, we appreciate that it may not always be possible or practical to take 17 minute breaks every 52 minutes. For example, this is more likely to work over the course of a week rather than a short task that you need to complete in only an hour.
However, whether you take half hour breaks or only 5 minutes, it’s important to know how to really maximise both your rest time and your working time.
We have created a great guide to the ‘6 Non-negotiable Productivity Behaviours’. You can download this guide by clicking here or following the link at the bottom of the page.
Our next Daily Dot post will reveal how social media may be consuming your life and stopping you from being successful.
Until next time...