I was talking to a client a few weeks ago and we were talking about being productive and still maintaining a sense of balance. That is, not getting sucked into work and forgetting to get up, move and, rest your eyes at minimum.

While we were chatting I mentioned a little thing I like to do, he tried it and reported back that he really liked it.

The longer you work at something, the less productive you get. Until you get to the point where you’re exhausted and perhaps sitting in front of the computer and virtually nothing is getting done.

So here is the little trick:

I set a timer for 50 minutes and turn everything off except the thing I’m working on. For example: no music, no emails ‘pinging’ in, phone onto airplane mode and door shut.

I work in this way until the timer goes off and then get up. For 10 minutes I stop and refresh my mind and my body.

I might stretch, practice a breathing exercise, do some eye exercises (especially if I’m working on the computer). I might reply to a quick text message or listen to a song.

When my 10 minutes is up I crack on again!

The beauty of this is it leads to focused work and less distractions, which is a lot less fatiguing.

It gives you a mini target to work towards so you get more done in 50 minutes than you might otherwise do.

It allows you more breaks to stretch, move and be away from the glare of the screen.

But the biggest benefit comes over the longer term. It’s much more sustainable working like this. Yeah sure you can kill yourself and do a 12 hour day in front of the screen with 15 minutes to squeeze in a quick sandwich at lunch, but at what price the following day(s).

I wrote the whole of the first draft of my book in seven days with this method and have worked like this ever since.

It might not be possible for you to do exactly 50:10 but find a ratio that does work and stick to it. Plan your days and I’m sure you’ll feel much better for it.

Best wishes