Work and Procrastination: A Six-hour Study of the (10+2)*5 Hack.

Recently I discovered the (10+2)*5 dash courtesy of Merlin over at 43 Folders, and I thought that I would give it a try. The concept is fairly simple: work for 10 minutes, screw around for 2 minutes, repeat 5 times, and voila! you have filled an hour with 5/6 productivity. The first thing that I did was download a Konfabulator widget which keeps track of the time and pops up a warning box when you should be screwing around and working.

I worked for approximately 6 hours under this regime today at my Honeywell job, even though I don’t use task lists as diligently as I should there. I found that tasks which I regarded as small were finishing in a snap, partly because I wanted to get them done before the next 2 minute break, and partly because if I didn’t finish for a break, my mind didn’t just stop thinking about the problem. It was very advantageous to think about something else for 2 minutes and then get back to the action because it was like taking a fresh start. I was using the dash to do some coding (the major portion of my hours right now) - finding bugs that normally would have me staring at the screen for a couple minutes seemed easy when I was just coming back from a break. The only issues which I had with it was when I got interrupted by Workrave rest breaks (I turned off microbreaks) or a coworker. I am definitely doing it again, the next time I have an hour uninterrupted.