The 60-60-30 Time Management Technique For Optimal Productivity

Kumar Gauraw

Do you find yourself juggling many things during the day, switching from one project to another, one task to another from time to time, and wondering in the end – what did I really accomplish today?

Time Management Technique - 60-60-30 Rule - Hand Pointing At The Watch

It has been over a year since I wanted to share an amazing productivity concept known as 60-60-30 rule. Till now, I just kept postponing this blog post for one or the other thing, but looking into my blogging ideas file, I picked it up today.

I heard about this from one of my LinkedIn connections a long time ago and I had enjoyed this technique so much that I made a point to publish my experience about it sometime in the future. I am so glad to get this out of my way finally!

The 60-60-30 Time Management Technique

The technique is simple. Basically, 60-60-30 represents time chunks. Each number represent a time chunk of your day 60 minutes, 60 minutes and 30 minutes. That’s it.

The 60-60-30 technique says, “You do your intended activity for 60 minute, twice with focus and then you take a complete break for 30 minutes.”

Knowing my own personality, I didn’t want to work constantly for 60 minutes because I like to take a 5 minute break every 20 minutes or so. It was a hard thing for me to digest. So, I dug dipper and here is what I found about this technique for optimal productivity.

According to this technique, you work for 50 minutes with full focus. Then, take a quick 10 minute break and relax. Repeat the process one more time. That means, work with full focus for 50 minutes again and then take rest for 10 minutes. And then, you are supposed to take a 30 minute long break (so, essentially, making your last break 45 minutes long). Not bad!

The key however is that, your 50 minutes of work must be a highly focused with absolutely no distractions entertained. The best thing to do for those 50 minutes is to plan a 50 minute long task ahead of the time and when you start the work, remained focused on that one and only task.

In the 50 minute chunk of activity time, no phones, no discussions, no questions and answers. Just do the work and make sure that you have your work planned in such a way that you don’t have any external dependency on any other people or tasks. Just do the job at hand for those 50 minutes. You will be amazed how much is possible if you get this down.

How To Do It Right

The concept is simple but requires preparation. If you don’t prepare, you can’t do it properly and end up not achieving optimal productivity.

So, let’s discuss the components of doing it the right way!

1. Have Your Task Clear In Your Mind

50 minutes of work with total focus requires that you know, in advance, what is the one important task you are going to execute in that period. If you aren’t clear about the task, you are going to have a hard time keeping your focus for 50 minutes.

Therefore, plan ahead. Know your task and have your plan of execution ready before your 50 minutes of time chunk begins.

2. Get A Timer  (Smartphones Will Help)

Having a timer set for 50 minutes is important because you don’t need to keep looking at the watch waiting for the 50 minutes to be over. Even that is a distraction.

Therefore, I use my iPhone to time myself for those 50 minutes. It helps me keep my focus on the task at hand because I know when 50 minutes is done, my iPhone will tell me about it.

When the timer goes off, I know it’s my time to take a break. If you don’t have an iPhone or a Smartphone with a timer, buy a basic timer from your local store. The idea is to time yourself. Any timing device will do.

3. No Distractions For Those 50 Minutes

As we discussed in step one, it is important to keep your focus on a single activity for this period of 50 minutes.

You can’t afford to have distractions of any type taking away your focus. No multi-tasking, no internet browsing, no checking of emails or playing video games. No conversation or coffee or team. You do only one thing for those 50 minutes – YOUR WORK!

You can do other things when you have your 10 minutes of break or when you take the longer break for 30 minutes.

4. Use 10 Minutes Of Break Effectively To Relax

When the time comes to take your 10 minute break, use this time to completely unplug yourself from work. Leave your work desk. Go, grab a snack, drink some water, coffee or a cup of tea. Talk to somebody, relax for 10 minutes and refresh yourself.

10 minutes is not enough time to take a full rest, but you can may be, go for a walk, get some blood flowing before next 50 minutes begin.

5. Grab A Healthy Meal In 30 Minutes Break

I believe the 30 minutes of break time was created keeping in mind the idea that people feel hungry after 2 hours of work and now they need some food.

So, keeping the concept in perspective, if you feel hungry because of 2 hours of intense activity, it may be your time to grab a healthy meal. When I say healthy meal, I really mean to say that avoid eating junk food. Grab something fresh rich in vitamins and minerals.


I have been using this 60-60-30 time management technique to increase my productivity during the day and over the weekends for some time and I have been able to accomplish much more in such a short interval of time. Yes, sometimes, I find myself working for 110 minutes straight ignoring the intermediate 10 minute of break and investing that in work too. But I don’t recommend it. I know it’s not a good idea. It’s just me. Sometimes I get too passionate

However, this technique has helped me, especially with my blogging time because when I set my clock to write a blog post and when I follow this technique, it really helps me finish a quality blog post in about 2 hours’ time. Such posts do take more than 4 hours of my time if I do it in my own way. So, I recommend you try this technique if you are doing some freelance work. It is a very powerful technique to discipline yourself and get committed.

Over To You – Share Your Thoughts

Do you find yourself starting to do one thing and then, a few hours later, find yourself doing a completely different thing? How do you handle that situation?

Please share your thoughts through your comments and add value. If you use 60-60-30 technique for time management, please share your experience. Thank you kindly!

Kumar Gauraw

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Kumar Gauraw is a Personal Branding & Social Media strategist helping entrepreneurs and skilled professionals achieve personal and professional success by developing leadership and leveraging the power of the Internet, Blogging and Social Media.

22 Awesome Thoughts So Far, Add Yours Now...

  1. Hello Kumar,

    Time management has been what I have been interested in for so long. Why? You may ask. Time lost cannot be regained!

    I’ve never heard of ’60-60-30′ and I must appreciate you for sharing it. I have a system I use which is strikingly similar: I do a task without stopping or getting distracted till finish. Then catch some fun for as long as it takes my brain to relax and then move on to the next important task!

    Thanks for sharing this formula. I think I need to be more scientific and methodological.

    – Terungwa

    • Hello Terungwa,

      I learnt this method a couple of years ago and then I thought I will share it soon. But I got to publishing this only now.
      Anyways, I hope you will have fun with it especially because you like to work intensely anyway 🙂

      Have a great weekend!


  2. Hi Kumar.

    I always have problems with balancing my time. I’ll sometimes work for a good hour, but then take an hour long break and that usually throws my motivation to work off. This time management technique seems like it will greatly increase my productivity. Thanks for sharing it.


  3. Hi Kumar,
    A few years back, perhaps as many as 5, this concept for productivity and planning was being taught. I don’t when someone actually assigned certain amounts of time to this concept, but I recall this was originally some of Jim Rohn’s teaching on the discipline of taking consistent action. Without times specified, he simply said DO, take a little REST, and then DO MORE. This was in the context of the question, “Is the best you can do, the best you can do?”

    No. You can always do more.

    Jim said, “If you will invest in discipline (the price to be paid for future promise,) you can have whatever you wish. It’s called the beginning of a miracle.”

    Hope this adds some value to your timely post. Not all, but many people use close to year end to reflect.

    Safe travels.

  4. Hello Mr. Kumar
    I hope you are well.
    Kumar, this is a great technique to motivate discipline where it’s needed.

    I love the simplicity of it, but I know it will not be easy.
    A great point you made when you said we do need to know the task before jumping to start.

    Thank you

  5. Hi Kumar,

    I’ve heard that our attention span lasts for 50 minutes at a time. 60 minutes sometimes pushes it. Doing things with total focus in chunks of time works well.

    I have learned a long time ago to discipline myself to do this. It was difficult for me, so I downloaded a marketing focus kind of MP3 and listened to it every day for 30 days. It sure helped me focus.

    I’ve tried the Pomodoro Technique too.

    Bottom line, I do work in small chunks and spend a certain amount of time at each task. I do take breaks, but not long ones.

    If we just sit in front of our screen, there are too many distractions. We do need a plan, stick to it and do our time management!


  6. Dear Kumar,
    Thank you for writing about time management.
    I think these techniques may be great in bringing changes in delivering service, too, which is another important aspect of increasing productivity.
    To your blessings,

  7. Jeevan Jacob John

    Hey Kumar,

    I am a fan of testing out new routines/habits to increase my productivity, but I have never tried this method. (I am more of a fan of 28-2-28 method, which I invented – well, customized – from the pomodoro technique :D).

    The main advantage is that I get to exercise (total of 4 min exercises every hour). Another advantage is that I can maintain this throughout my day (even if I am not working :D). Of course, I have adjusted the schedules with things such as lunch, snacks and so forth.

    Anyways, I will surely give this method a try 🙂 Have to see how it goes!

    Thank you for sharing it, Kumar 🙂

    By the way, I just published my guest post on the method I use (the article is mostly focused on the applications I use to supervise and maintain my productivity). I know you are on vacation, but do check it out if you have some time to spare! Thanks 😀

  8. Hi Kumar,

    Wonderful post indeed that all of us can use 🙂

    Yes, one’s read a lot about the various ways you can become more productive, especially the 25 min or 20 min work time with 5 or 10 min breaks. I wonder how people do that because I just about settle down with my work within that much of time, leave alone writing anything much!

    Being a freelance writer, I do need time for researching, understanding, and then writing. Honestly speaking, I like to sit long to write, like you, in the time that I get from my schedule at home, being a Mom too. So, I really cannot take out so much time for breaks, though I sit and write pretty fast when I do. I guess it depends a lot on what you can manage and how you do it individually.

    Speaking of myself, I usually work in bits too, but how long a particular sitting will be, also depends on my chores in hand at home as I need to cater to my kids, home, food etc. So, I sit long and write during the morning hours when kids are away, taking my one hour off for cooking, then back to work for an hour, then another one hour off for household chores. But evenings are usually for the social media and light kind of work, so breaks happen every hour for a few minutes, then back to work. I guess we need to find the time to work when and how it best suits us, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead, and I hope you are enjoying your trip too 🙂

  9. Hi Kumar,

    Well, I only wish I was only so focused and disciplined, but I don’t really have a definite set of rules. If I’m really busy I could be glued to what I have on hand for 3 or more hours at the time, and if I’m not really busy I may take a break every 20 minutes. It also depends on my level of concentration that tends to vary at times.

    In any case, I think that it’s a good thing to have a plan, and if you’re going to do this, as you said, a key element is to be prepared ahead of time.

    Thank you for introducing this helpful method.

  10. Well, your theory here is inspirational and would bring out the very best within us…But then again , with various modes of distraction all around us , it actually demands an awesome level of dedication to achieve such heightened levels of perfection….

  11. Hey Kumar,

    I’ve been doing the 50/10 myself for years now. I’m not perfect at it by any means because things happen but I don’t have a lot of distractions. What I mean by that is I don’t get tons of calls on my cell, I ignore the ones on my main line and let them go to voice-mail unless I’m expecting a call, I don’t have any social networks open while I’m working on projects and I’m not constantly checking my email. I focus on the task at hand and then I take a break.

    Like today is different because I have two appointments I’m taking my Mom on. One was this morning and another one is here in a few minutes. For the most part though, people ask me how I’m able to get so much done well there you have it.

    When I sit down to work, I work. I’m focused on the task at hand and I get to it without any distractions. I think it works really well for me at least and like you said, you enjoyed working for a short period of time and then taking a break so I think it’s whatever works best for each individual as long as they stick to that schedule. They’ll see that they get so much more stuff done.

    Great share my friend and hope you’ve had a great start to your week. Are you back from vacation now? I hope you had a wonderful time.


  12. Hi Kumar

    Thanks for sharing your insights on the 60-60-30 rule. I have never heard of it. However, just like you I can also find myself doing linger than 50 min. I would hate to disrupt the creative flow to take a break.

    What generally helps me is to block out distractions. I often use the old reading room at Copenhagen’s Royal Library. Turn off the wireless connection and open a simple text editor or draw the outline on what I am about to write on a blank page in my notebook.

  13. Hi, Kumar!

    A great advice on time management! I usually find myself distracted by making many different tasks at the same time and taking brakes not regularly. Recently I heard another method, which is based on the research that the average time for person to fully come back to the task is about 15 minutes. That means that if person checks emails, phone or do some other outside activities, he never really concentrates on the main task. The advice was to work fully concentrated for 90 minutes and then take a break. This method and the one you described in this post seems quite similar. They both says that we need not less than one hour to fully concentrate on the main task, what means that all distractions must be avoided at that time!

    Thank for sharing!

  14. I love the 60-60-30 system! I use the exact same cycle as you 50-10-50-30 which I learned from one of my mentors, Eben Pagan.

    It used to be hard to concentrate on one task for 50 minutes straight but practice makes perfect as the saying goes. What I found to work is to stay slow and build it up. If you are used to 20 minutes of concentration, start there, then try 25 and get comfortable with that and keep adding till you hit 50. If you go from 20 to 50 all at once, you need to work that much harder to make the change permanent and you lower your chances of sticking to this new routine.

  15. Hi Kumar,
    I have been in the very same situation a lot of times. I am not able to manage my time to complete everything at my disposal sometimes. The main reason for this being the distractions flowing all the time over my head.
    I guess this 60-60-30 technique can prove out to be a better solution provided we keep all the distraction at bay for those 50 minutes. I will definitely try to schedule my time according to what is mentioned here and see for myself if it works.
    Thanks for sharing this great tip with us Gauraw.

  16. Good Morning Kumar, I have been practicing the 50-10 for a while now, I do set my timer but sometimes it is hard for me to take that 10 minute break and I find when I don’t is when my productivity slows down..

    Even if it is to stretch or get a glass of water I found this is a necessary step and was put there for a purpose. This is a great post my friend.. Thanks for sharing.. Chery :))

    • Aha! Thank you Chery! Glad to know you are already using this technique! Wow! You are so awesome!

      How was your Dallas trip?


      • Hey Kumar! Dallas Was Awesome! I even got a chance to soak up some sun, oh yeh my white winter skin turned cherry red HEHE Loved It! It was to bad that you had another event out of town to attend it would have been nice to have gotten together.

        It was nice to meet up with Leslie, she was a wonderful companion for the 4 days. Thanks for asking, Chery :))

  17. Great Post Mr. Kumar. You have done everything here what is most valuable. I would like to share my time management tools:

    1. ‘Google Keep’ both version, Desktop & Mobile (My all time favorite)
    2. Sticky Notes- electronic and physical both
    3. Toggle to track our time

    As ‘Google Keep’ is my favorite, I use it for notes, reminder, idea generation and even as a diary. 🙂

    • Hi Rishabh,

      I haven’t used Google Keep so far and may be I should check it out. Thank you for sharing about it 🙂

      Have a great weekend! And HAPPY NEW WEEK!


  18. Productivity is something that continues to fascinate me. I guess everyone wants to be productive but the optimal productivity varies from person to person. The hard part is finding that correct productivity zone.

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