Adopting the 30-30 Minute Work Cycle

In my quest to become more productive, I have decided to adopt the 30/30 minute work cycle. It is a lifehack by Chetan Surpur. What this means is quite simple, for every hour I spend on my laptop, 30 minutes of it would be spent on nothing but work. I would write, do research, re-write, do some routine blog maintenance and other things needed to keep this blog growing and accomplishing my other writing tasks. Notifications about new email, twitter updates, chat messages, etc. would be turned off or ignored unless it is extremely important or work-related. During this 30 minutes it will be nothing but work.

When that period is up, the next 30 minutes would then be spent on non-work activities, like having fun, playing with my little daughter, reading a book, getting up and stretching my legs, anything to give me a break.

With this system, time is well-managed and efficiently used. Instead of just sitting in front of my laptop doing all sorts of things which 80% is not really work-related.

To keep track of the time, I’ve downloaded and installed Workrave.

Workrave is a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit.

Workrave - Take a Break
Workrave gives instructions on how to exercise during your break time

It runs on both GNU/Linux and Windows and it’s easy to use and set-up. What’s great about this app is that it gives instructions on rest exercises designed for those who are working on computers – programmers, typists, writers, geeks and bloggers, well anyone who’s on a computer.

It includes wrist exercises to prevent or lessen carpal tunnel syndrome, an eye exercise to relieve eye-strain, some arm-shoulder movements to keep the blood flowing and the muscles some relaxation. Best of all, it tells you to get up and walk away from your computer during your break.

When it does tell you to take a break, it locks your entire desktop. So you cannot use your supposed free time to wander on to Facebook, Google Reader or Twitter, heck even porn sites. Gaming is even a no-no. When Workrave tells you to take a break, it means exactly that. Though you can always click the “skip” or “postpone” button and continue on working it just means the entire system will depend on your self-discipline. My self-discipline in this case.

The 30-30 minute work cycle isn’t suited for everyone. You can even tweak it to suit your working style. The whole point is to have a system that will help you manage your time efficiently, allocating it both to work and having a break.

Go ahead and give it a try. Let me know how it turns out. If you have other similar systems, methods or regimen, share it with for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

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