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This productivity hack caught my attention because it’s very similar to the strategy I find myself using to help maintain focus and forward progress, despite my proclivities for procrastination. The scheme is called (10+2)*5, and it breaks down like this:

  1. Work hard on a discrete, small task for 10 minutes.
  2. Take a 2 minute break.
  3. Repeat the first two steps 5 times

Before you know it, an hour will have passed, you’ll have gotten a lot done, and you’ll be looking forward to the next work/play session. If you follow an agile/iterative software development methodology, you’ll probably notice some similarities here, in that the focus is on maintaining forward momentum while achieving small, manageable goals.

The key to this hack is to reward yourself with a break regardless of whether the task was completed or not. You are rewarding progress made, not work completed, and this makes even the most daunting tasks seem more manageable (especially when the hardest part is getting started).

I think what’s probably going on here is that you are structuring for yourself a positive reinforcement conditioning system. By keeping the increments short, it’s much easier to form the association between the work stimulus and the break reward. Compare this to the 2 week cycle on the typical pay check reward, or the 30 day invoice roundabout if you’re a freelancer, or even no reward for those thankless around the house tasks that always need to be done… Procrastinators just need something more immediate and obvious as encouraging reinforcement.

What do you think about this? Have a productivity hack that works better for you? Chat about it in the comments!

43 Folders’ Procrastination hack: “(10+2)*5″ -Link.


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