Automation & EfficiencyBook Club

How to Change Your Law Practice in 50 Minutes

I recently listed to a podcast featuring Brendon Burchard, a prominent figure in the personal development space whose book is called High Performance Habits. During the interview, he talked about some of the habits he does every day to keep his productivity high. There was one in particular that stuck out to me:

He never works for longer than 50 minutes at a time.

That’s it. 50 minutes. Even if he’s waist-deep into a complex task that he’s excited about, he forces himself to stop after 50 minutes and take a short break. He’ll get some water, stretch, or sit quietly for a few mintes. The point is he steps away from the work and gives his mind a break.

To support this idea, he cites studies that show our brain can only be focused and productive between 50 and 70 minutes at a time. We aren’t wired to go for hours without coming up for air. When we do that, we tend to run out of gas quickly, unable to stay focused after lunch or just wiped when we get home.

I identified with feeling unable to concentrate into the afternoon, so I thought I’d give it a try. I installed a timer on my computer and set it to 50-minute intervals (it’s running right now). Then, I started working. When the bell dinged, I forced myself to get up and walk away from my desk.

I will say, it was not easy at first. Although I walked away, I had a hard time turning my brain off. I felt like I was still working. After a few minutes though, I got distracted enough that I stopped thinking about work. Just five minutes of time away made a huge difference.

By the time I came back to my desk, I was reenergized and ready to tackle the task again. While I thought being interrupted every 50 minutes would slow down my progress, it had the opposite effect. I was able to work more productively throughout the day and get more done than I expected.

I still have times when it’s really hard to force myself to stop after 50 minutes, but I’ve seen the benefits that I still pull myself away. It really has been a game changer for me.

What do you think? Will you try the 50-minute rule for a week? If you do, let me know how it changes your productivity.