Mark Kirby - mobile, cloud, voice and IoT

Working in 90 min blocks

This week I have been experimenting with working in 90 minute blocks, separated by 30 min and 2 hour breaks. Productivity has gone through the roof.

The technique was based on this article at 99u, who based it on this article by Chase Jarvis, who was inspired by Benjamin Franklin, who achieved a lot. The basic recommendation is:

  • Begin (after breakfast and time to gather thoughts)
  • Work 90 mins
  • Rest 30
  • Work 90 mins
  • Take a 2 hour lunch
  • Work 90 mins
  • Rest 30
  • Work 90 mins
  • Done, to relax for the evening

Isn’t this a very short day?

This totals a **6 hour work day **but it is focused work, and this is the most productive work.

In the breaks, I have been catching up with the team, chat, walk, fetching a coffee, all the things that normally interrupt the day constantly and make up the remaining hours.

In elapsed time its a longer day (say 9 - 6) but more evenly spread.

What about email?

In a 90 min block I define what I plan to achieve, and then either deal with emails at the start or end of the block. If a task comes from and email I’ll add it to the list and pick it up in the block.

Key point: Define what you plan to achieve within a block at the start, and stick to the plan

Key point: Deal with emails at the start of a block, or when you finish the tasks within a block

Many tiny deadlines

The beauty of this technique is it gives you lots of defined deadlines throughout the day. Deadlines keep?me focused and with the countdown ticking I ensure no task consumes more time than needed.

Long lunch

The long lunch provides time in the middle of the day to undertake chores, go to the gym and eat properly. Thus, I return to work energised and focused with less things to worry about. A clear mind.


The real benefit of this technique comes not during the breaks, but during the work period. The focus gained by resting enables you to achieve far more quality work than by just working all day long, becoming tired and wasting time.

Work less hours, at a higher quality, with more time for you.

Give it a go for a day.

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