I first heard about the 90-minute rule at a freelance writing workshop I went to in LA. I was dubious that something so simple could break me of my ingrained procrastination habit. The idea? To set a timer for 90 minutes, and focus on a single task for that length of time, before taking a half hour break. Rinse and repeat. To my surprise and delight, it worked immediately. I used timer-tab.com to set up a visible countdown, closed my email, shut my browser and found that I got more done in that first 90 minutes than I had in the whole previous day. There's a reason, science says. Ninety is the number of minutes your brain can focus before it needs a break, thanks to your ultraradian rhythm, according a study in the Journal of Sleep Research & Sleep Medicine.
Trust me, it's the only thing - bar a deadline in an hour's time - that gets my arse into gear. Even though I'm not freelancing any more, if I need to write a story or focus properly, I set that clever little timer.
Have you found a good anti-procrastination method?
Image by Justin Coit for Who What Wear