The 40-5-15 Productivity Tip

I have a way of working that works beautifully for me. I thought I’d share.  You might find it useful.

I use a modified Pomodoro technique. With the original Pomodoro technique, you work for 25 minutes and take a break for 5. It was originally developed to help people stop procrastinating.

For me, I found that 25 minutes isn’t long enough to accomplish what I need in one sitting and a 5 minute break doesn’t cut it either. I made both the work and break times longer to fit how I like to work.

Every hour it looks like this…

40 Minutes of Focused, Productive Work


5 Minutes of Email





During the 40 minutes, I do my best to turn off any distractions. I make it a game to see how much work I can get done in those 40 minutes.

Next, I check email for 5 minutes, working on the highest priority emails first. You’d be surprised how many emails you can read and respond to when the clock is ticking. This allows me to check my email and get back to people every hour which is pretty responsive in most cases. I leave the non-urgent emails for my admin time (after lunch and right before I end for the day).

Finally, for the break, I step away from my desk and do something physically active for 15 minutes. This can be…

  • Cleaning (I work from home)

  • Using my TRX trainer

  • Doing some yoga stretches

  • Taking a quick walk outside

    • Taking a dance break. Yes, I take these and I highly recommend, especially when you’re needing an energy boost.  Go here and try it now. You’re welcome.

Which one I choose for any given break just depends on what I’m in the mood for (and how messy my place is).

So, if you think about it, by the end of the day, I’ve gotten a ton of work done, have a clean home, exercised and stretched, and partied it up.  Not bad for 8 hours.

Try it for yourself. The idea is to maximize your productive mental time to get stuff done, while also giving your mind a rest and your body some movement.

Bonus tip:  I will often combine my non-dance breaks with listening to business audiobooks or podcasts. See my blog post on why this is the only way to multi-task.

With love & joy,

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