How to Become a Productivity Monster Using the 90/30 Rule

Entrepreneur Thomas Oppong tells how he discovered ultradian rhythms and learned how to solve all his important tasks in the morning.

Many distractions surround you. Overwhelmed with projects, goals, tasks, phone calls, emails, and your family, friends, and colleagues are constantly asking for time. But you can remain calm in the heart of this chaos. Shorten, simplify, and lighten your schedule. Find time to get things done and focus on important work.

The bad news is that time flies. The good news is you are his pilot.

Michael Altshuler, motivational speaker and writer

It’s up to you to decide which tasks are prioritized and when they should be completed. The human body works in cycles called ultradian rhythms. During each of these cycles, there is a peak when energized and a period of exhaustion.

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People who follow this pattern perform better. It is essential to understand your body’s natural rhythms to coordinate your periods of activity and rest with them. So set a personal “peak time” and try to do as much as possible before your energy and willpower runs out. I call this the 90/30 rule.

Over the past three months, I have started my day by focusing on one of the most important tasks that I have to solve for exactly 90 minutes. I chose it the night before so as not to waste time planning in the morning. After 90 minutes of hard work, I took a break for 30 minutes. And then he repeated this cycle.

And I got more done in those 90 minutes than in any comparable period of time during the rest of the day. I am very pleased with the results.

I decided to adopt this practice because I found that my energy and intense mental work diminished throughout the day. And I also noticed that some difficult tasks, which I cowardly put off until the evening, often remain unfulfilled.

Tony Schwartz, blogger, writer, and founder of The Energy Project, came up with a method 90 minutes, based on the results of this particular scientific work.

How to Become a Productivity Monster Using the 90/30 Rule
Image source: Reproduction/Internet

For almost 10 years now, I have started my work day by focusing on the most important task that I have chosen the night before. After 90 minutes, I take a break. In order not to be distracted, I do not check my email during this period, close all unnecessary windows on my computer and do not answer the phone.

Tony Schwartz

In addition to Lafee, Schwartz referred to the work of sleep researcher Nathan Kleitman. He opened a phenomenon that he called the basic cycle of rest-activity. Its essence is that within 90 minutes, your brain goes through five sleep stages, then rests for 20-30 minutes, then repeats the cycle. Kleitman found that the body obeys such a schedule while awake.

Strictly speaking, the scientist’s calculations indicate that only 20 minutes is enough for rest. However, Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich and writer and literary critic Benjamin Che Kai Wai, who tested the method on themselves, found that a 30-minute break is more effective.

You need time to rest, recover, allow your body to replenish its energy reserves. 20 minutes is not enough, at least for me. 30 is a more realistic minimum rest period. It also makes life planning easier, because people are used to thinking in half-hour chunks.


Benjamin Che Kai Wai

It was thanks to the 90/30 method that Schwartz wrote his book in less than six months. He worked for an hour and a half, rested for 30 minutes, then repeated the cycle. After the first cycle, he had breakfast. After the second, he went for a run. After the third, he had lunch. And the book was finished ahead of schedule, without overexertion and haste.

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The method is based on the power of habit. You must train yourself to solve the most difficult tasks of the day in the first 90 minutes, bringing such a routine to automaticity. You do not need a lot of energy and pumped up self-discipline, and you can achieve maximum results.

Productivity can only be achieved by purposefully working on it. If you have a clear goal each morning that you can start right away, your ability to focus will increase exponentially. So spend the last 20 minutes of each day thinking about tomorrow’s tasks and prioritizing. And focus your energy on achieving your goals as soon as you get up the next morning.

Try it and be surprised how easy and convenient it is.

Adapted and translated by Wiki Avenue Staff

Sources: Life hacker