I think we’ve all had times in our lives where we feel disjointed, a bit ADD and feel like the to-do list is taking growth hormones.
Generally, when I feel this way I feel extremely unproductive as the end of the day leaves more to-do’s left on my list than I feel like I’ve actually accomplished.
I know for me, being productive or not usually has to do with keeping the integrity of my first to-do list rather than checking one thing off, adding four more.
Hands down, the best advice I’ve ever received for getting more things done in less time is the “50,10 Power Block (That’s just my name for it).”
It is probably one of the most philosophically simple techniques, but one of the most powerful productivity tools I’ve ever experienced. You’ll get more done by the end of the morning than most get done in an entire day.
So, the 50,10 Power Block is simply a three hour block of time divided up in a special way and governed by some simple principles.
Let’s say our three hour block is from 9am-12pm as a typical workday morning. Start your morning 30 minutes to an hour prior to your power block to create your task list for the day and answer any pressing emails. I recommend making your task list without specific order and then prioritizing the tasks and making a final list.
Success TIP: Place the tasks that are most important (maybe your most important tasks would be the quickest path to getting paid – i.e. sending an invoice) and then challenge yourself to put the tasks you are dreading to do or have been putting off for a few days to get those out of the way first.
Now, 9am is rolling in. You’re task list is made and your email is clear. You’re ready.
Set the timer on your phone for 50 minutes. Start your task list and obey some simple principles during this block of time.
- Focus on the task at hand and work until it is completed or the timer is up
- Turn your phone to silent. No dings when email comes through or loud ringers will disturb you.
- No checking email
- No social media (Facebook etc)
- No phone calls. Your time is valuable and most people can wait for a callback.
This can be very difficult for some. Especially, the no email thing! Your email can wait. You can check it at 12pm when your Power Block is over or preferably after lunch.
Now, when the 50 minutes is over and your timer is going off, set the timer again for 10 minutes. put your pen down, closer your laptop and walk away from your desk.
You’ve got 10 minutes of free-time to do nothing. Stretch, go outside on a balcony if you have one, go get some water or whatever. Just don’t do any work! Clear your mind.
Here is my ultimate success secret. Try meditating during your 10 minute break. Just sit comfortably, close your eyes and breath gently and deeply. Put all your focus on your breath and let all thoughts dissipate. If thoughts come in then gently re-focus on your breathing. If that kind of transcendental meditation doesn’t work for you then guided meditation does wonders, too. I believe the free guided meditation on this site is just over 10 minutes long which would be just about perfect for this.
After your 10 minute break set your timer again for 50 minutes. Then you have another 10 minute break after that. Repeat the cycle once more for a total of three (3) hours. This makes up your first 50,10 Power Block.
After the first Power Block go grab some lunch and take an hour. Check your email or return any phone calls and then start your second Power Block after lunch.
After a while this will become second nature and you’ll be a productive powerhouse.
Cheers to your success.
Try it and let me know your thoughts in the comments. How much did you get done?
Guest Post by Matt Montgomery
Matthew is an entrepreneur and startup strategist who practices meditation daily