Boost Productivity by Changing Tasks Every Half Hour

There are hundreds of things to keep track of on a typical workday, and more to do. And trying to do everything at once usually means that you are less productive than you would like. You cannot, for example, listen to and understand your colleague’s presentation when you email your boss about a new project you would like to tackle – your ability to complete one or both options will suffer.

So instead of forcing yourself to do multiple tasks at the same time, break your schedule into manageable half-hour chunks, suggests Quartz’s Jim Davis. Changing what you do every half hour allows you to work enough on one task to make a significant contribution to it, but it also allows you to shake things up and think about something new.

Davis says he considers the practice to be “focused work” rather than multitasking. He can focus on one thing for 30 minutes without checking his phone, email, Twitter, etc., allowing him to do more. You can focus completely on one thing, take a break, and then focus completely on something.

“Knowing you only have half an hour to work can also help with motivation,” writes Davis. “As much as you dread working on something, in the end it’s only 30 minutes.”

This is a kind of less structured Pomodoro Technique . As former Lifehacker editor Alan Henry wrote about Pomodoro, it’s important to remember that you can be as flexible with him as with any other productivity advice. “If you’re making progress and the timer goes off, you can pause it, finish what you’re doing, and then take a break,” he wrote. “The goal is to help you get into the zone and focus, but also to remind you to get some air.” Don’t forget to schedule breaks for your day as well.


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