New research reveals the benefits of a 52-17 work-to rest ratio
By using a computer application to track how much time people spent on various tasks, and comparing productivity levels, the study found that workday length did not matter much, compared to how people structured their day.
People who work intensively for small periods and take frequent short breaks were found to be significantly more productive than those who worked long hours and took a few longer breaks. A ratio of 52 minutes work followed by a 17 minute break resulted in optimum productivity. This is achieved because people concentrate intensely for those 52 minutes, without being distracted by emails or social media, knowing that they will shortly have a break where they can respond to external requests.
This is interesting research for those of us working in a bidding environment, where we work for long stretches when a bid deadline is looming. Would taking more breaks reduce the need for the infamous all-night bid-writing sessions that we've all experienced during our careers, and restore some much-needed work-life balance to bid writers everywhere?
This research reminds me very much of the Pomodoro technique, which also advocates periods of concentrated work, followed by a short break. I personally find this very effective and routinely use a 'to do' list with a built in Pomodoro timer - Kanban Flow. Perhaps combining both approaches, changing the length of my work and break sessions to the suggested 52:17 ratio is the answer for maximum productivity?
Which productivity tips and tools do you use to deal with ever-increasing work pressures? Leave a comment if you have any good suggestions and help restore work-life balance for bid writers everywhere!