I used to do these excruciating workouts based on a 50/10 model.  Fifty seconds of all manner of hell and then 10 seconds of rest until the next round.

Somehow I could always push myself through those 50-second punishments knowing I had that little rest waiting at the end.

My mindset was always that I could endure whatever physical torture was on that workout list for those 50 seconds, because come on, it’s only 50 seconds!  

This week, I ran across some advice that expanded that thinking beyond workouts to life tasks. Whether it is “suffering” or something you truly enjoy, the 50/10 model has some real benefits.

This came through my inbox this week, compliments of author and motivational speaker, Brendon Burchard.

Work/create in 50-minute scheduled blocks. During these blocks, NOTHING is allowed to happen except you focus and work. You don’t take calls, look at your inbox, browse, or start other activities. You do ONE THING.”

This seemed like just the answer to a couple of problems I run into…

  • As much as I love the creating part of what I do, I sometimes have trouble sustaining my energy and focus on one thing for a block of hours at a time.
  • And as surprised as I am, it turns out I am easily distracted.  I’ll answer an email or respond to a text or Facebook post, just because they are coming across my screen as I’m working.

He goes on to say…

Every 50 minutes, take a BREAK. I set an alarm on my phone to go off every 50 minutes. It helps me get that block of time done, but it also makes sure I stand, stretch and hydrate every hour. No matter what I’m doing, no matter how interested or passionate I am, at the 50-minute mark I stand, get water, stretch or walk, even if just for 5-10 minutes.”

I don’t do that.  Well, I didn’t until this week anyway.  When I began to lose focus, I would do one of two things:

  • Switch to a different work task, basically just bouncing around from task to task as the mood would strike me
  • Wander away for a snack or to tackle one of the many chores always needing to be done around the house

There was one more bonus.  I always set the intention to include yoga and meditation in my schedule, but they tend to be the items that get dropped first when I get too busy.

I immediately rescheduled my work day into hour chunks.  I set the yoga mat out in the living room for the whole day, and during my non-coaching hour blocks, I followed the 50/10 rule.  I focused on only ONE thing for 50 minutes and took 10 minutes to break for stretching, meditation, and eating/hydrating.  Okay, I did use a couple of those breaks during the week to check Facebook.  But it was actually part of the schedule, so it felt purposeful and not like a distraction.

I was super productive!  Not only was I getting way more done, but I was always engaged and excited.  By shifting my focus to a new topic every hour and staying fresh with scheduled breaks, what I was working on and who I was working with got the very best version of me.

I know we all have commitments in our schedules that put limitations on what we can do, so we can’t live a total 50/10 life (Although it’s pretty funny to imagine pulling the car over after 50 minutes of driving my kids around to take my 10 minute break).

However, there are hours in there when we are fully the boss of our own activities.  Where can you put 50/10 to the test?  It just might reinvigorate you, too!