Yeah…(10+2)*5. I0 minutes of work, 2 minutes of break repeated for 5 cycles. This is Merlin Mann’s system to beat procrastination which he first wrote about back in 2005. I had read about this ages ago on 43 Folders (the article is pretty old already) but never tried it. Today I started.
I’ve had feats of concentration so heroic there should be epic stories (you know…like the Odyssey) written about them. Those are few and far between though ;) Normally I have a real problem getting things going. I can procrastinate with the best of them and I’ve been that way my whole life. I’m not sure what it is but it seems that I have two problems: being able to break tasks down into manageable pieces and, these days, being too attracted to the many distractions that is the internet. Overall it hasn’t hurt my effectiveness because I get things done on time. I just don’t like how I get there so it was time to give anything a shot that might help. That is where (10+2)*5 comes in.
I was reading the other day about an application for Windows called Instant Boss that was designed specifically to time the dashes. It actually isn’t limited to (10+2)*5, you can set the values to whatever you want. The default is (10+2)*5 and that’s what I’ve started with. So far it is working great.
One of the things all of these dashes seem to do (at least according to the authors) is get you to the point of working to where you start to skip the breaks. This was true for me even on this first day of trying it. The 10 minutes go by, you get the signal from the application to take a break, but you are in the middle of something and don’t want to stop so you hit the “skip break” button and go on for another 10 minutes. This whole thing is fantastic because I’m moving towards a goal, sometimes in 10 minute chunks, sometimes longer, with what seems like little effort. I suppose the knowledge that after 10 minutes you are free to let your mind wander for a bit is the key.
There is also another dash from Jeff Covey called The Progressive Dash which also sounds fascinating but again leads to the same thing as the other dashes:
By the end of that time, I wish I could continue and get more done. Pretty soon, I’m wanting to get back to it and finish it instead of procrastinating about it.
Exactly how the (10+2)*5 thing worked for me. Amazing in it’s simplicity. Limitless in its power for Good. ;)