I’m an audiobook junkie. I listen to about one per week and most recently finished Manage Your Day to Day, which part of the Behance/99U book series. In it, they mention a study where violinists who practiced only 90 minutes per day, then took 30 minute breaks in between. Three periods of this each day lead to the most improvement.
Translating that pattern into the work day, Tony Schwartz stated in the Huffington Post that utilizing this method helped him write a book in less than six months. Inspired, I decided to give it a try. Last monday, I sat down at my desk in the morning and broke up my tasks into four blocks of 90 minute periods. In between each, I made myself take a 30 minute break (something I don’t ever normally do). I set a timer on my phone, then walked around, did a load of laundry, did some yoga, or just picked up things around the house that always seem to get misplaced.
After a few days of not getting everything done in my 90 block, and struggling with making myself take a break, I began to catch my groove.
And that’s when everything changed.
By the end of the week, I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed with my work day anymore. By putting my hardest tasks in the beginning of the day (in my first block), I found that I glided through the rest of my blocks and tasks (this is also what Brian Tracy says in Eat That Frog, one of my favorite books).
I couldn’t believe that something so simple and not usually what you are told that your work day should be. Traditional office workers assume that you are supposed to work 8 to 5 or 6, with an hour for lunch. So at first, that’s why it was so hard for me to believe that actually working less has helped me have one of the most successful months that I’ve ever had.
Now going into my second week of doing my 90 minute scheduling, things are better than ever. I still have all my regular work, but I’m getting it done by 1 or 2pm, making me work about four to five hours per day.
Of course, this definitely isn’t always the case. Some days I’ll work ten to twelve hours to get a project done.
I’ll always do whatever it takes to get something done. But that doesn’t mean working 60 hours a week makes me a better business owner than the next person.
I hope that we, as the new generation of successful businesspeople can realize that as long as you get your work done, why does it matter how many hours you work? Or where you work from? If I write the best articles from my couch with my dog next to me, that doesn’t make me a worse (or better) employee than someone who is sitting in an office filled with 100 people.
The 90 minute block tip might not work for everyone, and it may take a while getting used to, but for me, it has been one of the fastest and most effective ways to work.