Productivity Tip: The 90-Minute Writing Block

To pick up where I left off with my post about the things I learned while writing my thesis, I would like to share a trick I learned from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project:Or, Why I Spent A Year Trying to Sing In The Morning, Clean My Closets, FightRight, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. Gretchen Rubin, who is a writer, blogger, podcaster, and many more, thought that she couldn’t sit down and write productively unless she had several hours with no interruptions, which was something hard to arrange. As a result she decided to track the writing work that she was putting in every day in order to examine when she was more productive.
It was then that she noticed something particularly interesting and decided to put it in good use.

In her own words:

“It didn’t take me long to see that I did better when I had less time. Not several hours but ninety minutes turned out to be the optimally efficient length of time – long enough for me to get some real work done but not so long that I started to goof off or lose concentration. As a consequence, I began to organize my day into ninety-minute writing blocks, separated by different non-writing tasks: exercising, meeting someone, making a phone call, tinkering with my blog.”



In trying to be more productive myself and having already noticed that, quite frequently, devoting an entire day to writing resulted in very few hours of pure, concentrated work, I decide to test her method. I mostly alternated between working on my thesis and doing translations for my other courses or for freelance projects, but sometimes I would add running errands, seeing friends and exercising to my schedule. It didn’t always work out perfectly, since there are always emergencies (or impromptu invitations to coffee and gossip), but I think that, overall, organizing my day in ninety-minute or two-hour blocks helped me enhance my creativity. 
Hugs and kisses,
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