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How (And Why) To Use The 52/17 Rule To Boost Productivity

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All it takes is just one email, a single Facebook notification, a Like on your latest Instagram photo to distract you from your work.

Once you’re distracted, it takes a long time to get focused and go back to work.

I know this better than anyone because I used to face this problem almost every day. It’s something you have to deal with when you’re working from home.

People working at an office can at least stay focused on the work at hand out of the fear they have for their boss. But for a freelancer working from home, procrastination is an ongoing war.

For example, I’ve been writing a book for over a year now and it’s still not halfway done. That’s how much I love procrastinating. I’d rather watch an episode of Big Bang Theory than finishing a chapter of my book.

That was me not so long ago. But, not anymore. I’m no longer procrastinating. At least not as much as I used to.

I found an effective new strategy to boost my productivity. And if you’re like me and have trouble focusing on work, you might want to give this strategy a try.

What Is The 52/17 Rule?

I’ve tried all the methods.

I’ve tried using lots of browser extensions to keep me from visiting time-wasting websites. Tried the Pomodoro Technique. I’ve tried timer apps. And even tried scaring myself to stay productive by setting terrible deadlines. Of course, some techniques worked for a while but nothing lasted long.

While searching for new productivity hacks, a few month ago I learned about this new strategy called The 52/17 Rule.

It’s nothing special. This strategy works the same way as the Pomodoro Technique. You simply set your clock to work 52 minutes and then take a 17-minute break.

Simply put, it’s working at short bursts and taking more breaks.

I’ve been using this strategy for a few months now, and it works every time.

Why I Use It

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The 52/17 strategy solved a big problem I had with the Pomodoro Technique.

As a writer, I have to keep working whenever inspiration strikes. But, when using the Pomodoro Technique I was only working 25 minutes at a time. That time slot was too small for me to produce effective results.

As it turns out, working 52 minutes straight with no distractions helped me to keep my focus on the task at hand while looking forward to the 17-minute break I’m about to be rewarded with.

Does It Really Work?

This brilliant strategy has worked wonders for me.

I’ve been able to keep better focus while working, finish more articles at shorter time periods, and I even managed to add an extra client to my schedule thanks to my high rate of productivity.

In fact, I’ve managed to write a few extra chapters of my book as well.

How come this strategy is so effective? According to a study done by The Muse using a time tracking app, 10% of their users were able to get more work done by doing short bursts of work while also taking more breaks.

Why? Because during that 52 minutes you’re working with better focus and purpose. And then taking a short break boosts up your energy to go another round. In a way, it’s simple science.

Why Should You Use It?

Most people think that freelancers make money by just sitting in front of a computer and clicking on a bunch of websites.

They don’t know about the hard work we have to put in every day to get results.

You have to clean your house, cook meals, take kids to schools, and spend time with your family while also managing time to do your work. People going to office jobs have it easy.

Staying focused at work during that small amount of time we have each day can be difficult without a proper strategy. You’re probably having the same issue right now.

The 52/17 Rule has been a time-saver for me so far. And I’m sure you’ll find it useful too.

How To Get Started

There are no complicated steps to get started with the 52/17 Rule.

5217 app

A decent timer app is just what you need to get started. I use an app called 5217 on my phone. This app has been designed specifically to follow the 52/17 Rule and it even allows you to disable phone notifications during the 52 minute work period.

Apple users can try this app with a little bit of customization. A simple timer app should also be enough to do the trick.

Conclusion

In a world full of distractions, it’s now getting more difficult to stay focused at work. People will tell you to work hard, but they won’t tell you the right strategies to get things done.

Hopefully, the 52/17 Rule will be as effective for you as it has been for me.

Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve found this strategy helpful or if you know any other great methods for beating procrastination.

Image credit: Freepik.com

Roshan Perera

I’m Roshan Jerad Perera, a freelance writer/blogger and the founder at FreelancingHacks.com. My goal is to help other people get started in freelancing and guide them toward a successful career and financial freedom.

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2 Comments
  • Arun Oct 8,2017 at 2:19 PM

    Nice post Roshan,
    Yes Pomodoro is a good way to beat procrastination. But the problem comes when your working on more creative or problem solving work, where you need more uninterrupted time to get something useful done.
    Its the first time i have heard the 52/17 method, and will give it a go. Like you mentioned in a world full of distractions, keeping focus is a effort on its own.

    • Roshan Perera Oct 9,2017 at 8:13 AM

      Totally agree. Let me know if it help boost your productivity 🙂

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