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Productivity Group Experiment: The 96 Minute Rule

96th Street subway, uptown side, Oct 2009 - 15

If you're interested in ways to get more productive, check out Chris Crouch's new group experiment, The 96 Minute Rule. I mentined the idea of breaking your time down into chunks in The best "chunking" time block - 96 Minutes? Here's the idea, from the experiment instructions:

Since the 80/20 rule states that we typically get 80% of our results from 20% of our efforts, it is a good idea to totally focus on important tasks for at least 20% of your workday (480 minutes x 20% = 96 minutes). This experiment is designed to lend structure and create a framework for implementing this theoretical idea.

Anyone want to give it a shot?

Reader Comments (20)

A good idea, though I believe that 20-30 min timeboxes are better supported by science based on the serial-position (or primary-recency) effect (which applies to attention as well as memory): http://lifebyexperimentation.com/2011/02/study-hack-learn-more-in-less-tim/

I use it religiously for my studies :)
April 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZane Claes
I agree - I'd commit to 20, maybe 30 minute intervals, but 96 minutes... I'll pass.
April 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAvrum
Since the 80/20 rule states that we typically get 80% of our results from 20% of our efforts, it is a good idea .
April 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwebdesign
Interesting post, Zane. Thanks for that. Still, it'd be interesting to try!
April 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterMatthew Cornell
Might be a good idea and work for some of you...might be a dumb idea and not work for you. Who knows? You'll never know unless you try. Altering a commonly cited Henry Ford quote a bit, "I suspect whether you think it will work, or won't work...you'll be right."
April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Crouch
BTW...the 20 minute interval for studying /learning new information (versus focusing on a work task) makes sense to me. In one source, Teaching With the Brain in Mind by Eric Jensen (ISBN 1-2166-0030-2), the chart Figure 3.2 "Guidelines for Direct Instruction of New Content" on p.37 suggests that 15 - 18 minutes is the appropriate amount of direct instruction for adult learners. It is a bit off topic (again since I am talking about workplace activity in the experiment and not new learning), but the book Brian Rules by Dr. John Medina (ISBN 0-979777-0-4) has some interesting insight on adult learning/studying. Admittedly, I don't know anything about primary-recency or serial-position. I'll have to try and learn more about that.
April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Crouch
I meant Brain Rules, not Brian Rules. I had a Monty Python moment there. Sorry about that.
April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Crouch
I want to give it a shot. =)
May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSpiritual Films
Please do!
May 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterMatthew Cornell
Amazing idea and discovery. I believe I can do this, hopefully. Why not give a try.
May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHot Tub Folliculitis
Go for it!
May 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterMatthew Cornell
This is absolutely a wonderful idea!
June 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHot Tub Rash
Being productive is the best asset that you can give as an employee. Gonna try for this and see what would be the next thing to do, to motivate me and be more productive.
June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCalgary Listings
You can also consider reading a book titled Being Productive by an obscure Southern author (available on Amazon).
June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Crouch
Interesting productivity experiment, I will also give it a shot. Breaking tasks in manageable chunks can help you do tasks a lot easier. Another way to keep you productive is try to set an estimated amount of time when working on each task. It will help you limit wasted time, stay focus on task and finish tasks on time. You can also check this article regarding a productivity review.( http://reorg.co/timedoctor-review-2012-04/ )Discipline is the key to effectively manage time.
April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJovan
Thanks, Jovan. Let us know how it goes. Use Edison if you'd like.
April 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterMatthew Cornell
20% I will work on the most important task that I believe I need to do, the rest becomes boring.
I am going to give it a try. Anyway nothing to loss but have so much to gain if this works. Thanks for this.
i know parento and i'm already working in chunks, but never thought about it this way.

i have to say that learning and working (for me) is a big difference. while for learning shorter blocks might be better (i really don't know, never tracked it for myself), for working definetly longer working blocks are better to archive the flow state. i should add that there are two different kinds of work for me: one is figuring the stuff out, making the decisions. the second kind is doing the actual work/implementing it. when you are doing the second kind of work, you don't think about how you could improve something or make something better, you just try to finish it as fast as possible without looking left or right (because all the strategic thinking should be done already).

now imagine if you do TWO blocks of 96min of essential work and cut down 96min of unessential and trivial stuff. or imagine of you do 3 blocks... then you know how successful people are born.
January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteffen
Really interesting, Steffen. Thank you for sharing your thinking.
January 9, 2014 | Registered CommenterMatthew Cornell

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