I think I've got it. I've finally cracked it. The ultimate productivity hack.
It's taken me 10 years to discover it, but I've done it.
And it's seriously changed the way I work, hopefully for good.
Baby + hot weather = productivity drop
For the last year or so, I've been struggling. The birth of my second daughter meant my home office went from sanctuary to nursery in a matter of days.
Tiredness crept in.
Exhaustion soon followed.
I was doing alright … and then the school holidays came! And here in Argentina, they last for three whole months (!)
And it gets hot here.
Not hot-English-summer kind of hot. This is the type of heat that penetrates every part of your body. It's like a hot English summer with a hot towel wrapped around your head.
So yes, it's been difficult.
Productivity has taken a hit.
But that led me to experiment. And after trying a few new things, I came up with …
The 30-minute block-writing method
The name pretty much says it all. You sit down, put a timer on for 30 minutes, and don't stop until you hear the beep.
Now, this isn't much different from my previous method. I used to set a timer for 20 minutes rather than 30.
But … the crucial difference was that perviously whenever I finished the task I was working on, I would have a break – even if those 20 minutes weren't over.
I would quite often get to 15, finish a task and stop. There didn't seem much point continuing at a natural break.
But when I changed to 30 minutes, I realised that I often had over 10 minutes remaining even after finishing a task. So I now start on something else and take full advantage of those 10 minutes.
I don't seem to need a longer break than I would following a 20-minute session (five minutes is still ample).
And what that means is that I'm still working in chunks of time, I'm still having regular breaks, but I'm getting a lot more done.
Working smarter, not harder
It's one of those really simple techniques that I wish I had discovered a long time ago. It's had a serious impact on my productivity levels over the last couple of months.
And now that the summer's over, I'm hoping my productivity is going to get another boost.