The Optimal Work-To-Rest Ratio

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In Are You Fully Charged, Tom Rath tells us:

In Peak Performance, Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness tell us:

While the exact work-to-rest ratio depends on the demands of the job and individual preferences, the overall theme is clear: alternating between blocks of 50 to 90 minutes of intense work and recovery breaks of 7 to 20 minutes enables people to sustain the physical, cognitive, and emotional energy required for peak performance. This ebb and flow runs counter to the all-too-common constant grind of either perpetually working in an ‘in-between zone’ of moderately hard work or working at the utmost intensity nonstop. Neither of these more traditional approaches is ideal. The former leads to under-performance. The latter leads to physical, cognitive, and emotional fatigue and, eventually, burnout.”

Wow! The most productive 10% of 36,000 employees worked hard for 52 minutes and then took a break for 17 minutes. When they were on those breaks they were more likely to engage in effective stress-relieving activities.

I don’t know about you but I would like to be more productive and avoid burnout.

For this reason, I have implemented a 50-minute on, 10-minute off work-to-rest ratio. That allows me to do my focused deep work and reach some of my other aspirations and behaviors like walking 5,649 steps, meditating, journaling, etc.

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