The 52 Minutes of Awesome
I need a serious mixtape to get through my days, especially when working at a coffee shop. You know, plug in those headphones and try not to sing aloud... But I need one when working from home too, if for no other reason than to mark the passage of time and keep me, this easily distracted artist, focused on the task at hand.
For at least 52 minutes at a time.
That's right: 52 minutes. The key to productivity, according to some reputable studies*, is the effective use of taking a break. Work, break, work, break. And that magic number of minutes: 52 working + 17 break.
The Muse explains it this way:
"...working times are treated as sprints. They make the most of those 52 minutes by working with intense purpose, but then rest up to be ready for the next burst. In other words, they work with purpose."
Put simply: I use my playlist to keep me on task (working with purpose) for 52 minutes. Once that race is finished, I can grab that tropical pineapple Dasani I thought about 12 minutes in, I can finally tend to the washer to dryer laundry and I can take a breather on the couch for a few. Using the music as a timer, I feel moved to work.
It's like a pleasant egg timer. One that rocks and rolls rather than tick tick ticks.
I've created myself Spotify playlists that last 52 minutes to keep things interesting throughout the day. Check out one of those right here.
What do you listen to when you want to "work with purpose?"
* Here are some bits about this 52/17 idea. Just so you know I'm not making it up. Because it does sound made up. But hey it works for me.
The Atlantic covered it here.
"Indeed, the most productive employees don't necessarily work the longest hours. Instead, they take the smartest approach to managing their energy to solve tasks in efficient and creative ways."
Inc's rundown on the magic numbers is helpful too.