Adopt The 30/30 Minute Work Cycle To Increase Focus

Adopt The 30/30 Minute Work Cycle To Increase Focus

Working lengthy hours can wear you down and make the work feel endless. Adopt the 30/30 Minute Work Cycle, half an hour of intense work followed by half an hour of relaxation, to renew your focus and boost your energy.

Working long periods without a break decreases your focus and increases the feeling that the work is endless. Struggling with logging very long but not very productive hours, Chetan Surpur — an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science student — decided to start working in blocks of 30 minutes followed by a 30-minute break. He writes:

Spending a ton of hours trying to work still feels like a ton of hours of work, even if you end up getting nothing done. With the 30/30 cycle, you’re only working half the time, and the relaxation time actually feels like relaxation without the stress of work. This makes many continuous hours of work much more bearable and productive.

For people in situations where “work” can fill the entire day when the responsibilities of work, school, and family projects are all factored in, spreading breaks and relaxation throughout a long day is a great way to fit in needed rest. Read more about the benefits he has experienced and tips for implementing his half on/half off system at the link below. To read more about the benefit of structures work and play, check out our review of Neil Foire’s The Now Habit.

The 30/30 Minute Work Cycle Feels Like Magic [Chetan Surpur]


  • I like the concept, but in an 8 hour day, you’d only be able to work 4 hours. So to get in an 8 hour work day, would that mean being at work for 16 hours? or just working 4 hours a day?

    If just working 4 hours a day is the case, wouldn’t you rather just go to work for 4 hours then go home?

    I do like the concept, but in reality I think a 30/10 or maybe 30/15 (30 being 30 minutes of work) is more realistic. No?

      • Even the Pomodoro technique can’t be used in a normal ‘work’ day…

        If you’ve got to work an 8 hour day, that’s 19 pomodoros with 5 minutes left over, so we’ll round that down to 19.

        That means, there’s 18 ‘breaks’ throughout, where every 4th break is longer.

        So, we now have 4 ‘long’ breaks, and 12 ‘short’ breaks.

        Pomodoro Technique says the short breaks are 5 minutes, and long breaks are 30 minutes. Therefore, that’s a total of 2hrs or long breaks, and 1 hour of short breaks.

        All up, to do 8 hours of work, you actually end up spending 11hrs! Who in their right mind stays at work for 11hrs!?

      • I think the idea is that just because you spend 8 hours at work, doesn’t mean you get 8 hours of work done. If you only work 6 hours and they are really productive, it’s probably going to equal 8 hours of average work. That way, you can get the same amount of work done, with more breaks, and enjoy yourself more.

        When studying, I like to do 45/15. It seems beyond 45 minutes and I lose all focus.

  • I think it is good in theory and I don’t want to criticize if it works for people but when you are in a job, which requires setting and managing expectations with stakeholders, you can’t apply 30/30. Most meetings go on for more than an hour. However if your are working on a document or a presentation alone, then perhaps it may work. If you want to just work less then have a read of Tim Ferris’s ‘The Four Hour Work Week’.

    So what I would recommend is Rewarding oneself for accomplishing a task. Do set a time limit or a deadline for that task – once you’ve finished the reward is only going to taste sweeter.

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