It can be difficult to focus on tasks these days, what with so many distractions around. Y’know, like Instagram stories, Mastodon toots, and ALF GIFs. Oh snap, a Star Wars fan theory video on YouTube? There goes another half-hour!
It takes discipline to fight off the goblin hordes of distraction. Wait. That needs to be something more alluring. Would saucy mermaids of distraction be better? Hm, that’s too gender specific. How about ice cream?
AHEM. Take 2: It takes discipline to fight off the saucy ice cream hordes of distraction.
So, what is my method? It used to involve lots of crying in the basement. Now, it’s the 52:17 method of productivity.
52:17 Your Time
I learned about 52:17 via a shared article on LinkedIn. I can’t find the specific article right now, but just do a search for ’52:17 productivity’ and take your pick.
Better still: just keep reading. Those episodes of Perfect Strangers will still be there later.
What Is 52:17?
It’s really simple: you focus on a task for 52 minutes, then take a 17 minute break. Repeat as needed. Easy!
I started using this method a few weeks ago, and it has really paid off. I first put it to use when I started overhauling this website. Now, changing over danieljhogan.com was many hours of work. It would be easy to get bogged down and burned out.
Getting Things Done
I set to work on my website overhaul. To keep my spirits up, I used the 52:17 method combined with my trusty to-do list notebook. I worked my way through my to-do list for 52 minutes, avoiding the siren song of The Social Medias.
After 52 minutes, I took a break. At first, this led to 17 straight minutes of checking social media on my phone. Then, I realized, I didn’t want to waste those precious 17 minutes of free-time phone-gazing (there were exceptions, of course. Because cat videos).
Instead, I used my breaks to move around, grab a snack, meditate, read, or even take a quick nap.
Does 52:17 Work?
52:17 worked for me. It might work for you, or it might not. Everyone is different. It probably won’t work well for every task too.
And that’s just fine!
The method worked for me, because when I get in the zone, I don’t stop. Forcing myself to stop helps me recharge, and helps me go for longer in the big picture. It worked in the case of changing my website, because the job was a marathon, not a sprint. I needed endurance to complete a bunch of different small tasks.
I don’t always stick 100% to the 52 minutes of work, 17 minutes of free time plan either. There are exceptions, of course. If I know I only have a few more minutes of work, I’ll keep going (ex: finishing a comic). Or, if I’ve done a few chunks of 52’s in an afternoon, I’ll treat myself with a double-break (maybe a half-hour of video games…or a half-hour of kitten videos).
Give the 52:17 method a shot today! Get some stuff done (don’t forget your to-do list).