No Time Dad

A blog about web development written by a busy dad

Productivity Quick Tip 1

The Method

1) 15 minutes of work (warm up) 2) 2 minute break 3) 20 minutes of work 4) 2 minute break 5) 20 minutes of work


I generally only spend about an hour in the evenings or early mornings working on my side projects. I don’t really have a lot of desire to spend more time on these things at the moment as it’s really just some quiet time for me that helps me unwind. But during that time I am usually very productive, and there is system that helps me stay productive during that time that I call the 15-20-20 method (as shown above). I’ve found that 15-20 minutes is good timeblock for me. I think that trying to force long productivity blocks is a waste of time and often leads to burnout or creates some weird resentment towards what you were working on. The first time block is usually the shortest and I see it as a “warm up” round for getting work done. I find that the 2 minute break is just enough time to detach for a moment and have a quick mental break but also not lose sight of the bigger picture of what I’m working on.

As far as the work itself goes, the main thing is that I pick tasks that I know I can complete during a single time block or if I can’t complete it I know that I can quickly switch back into what I was previously working on. I also keep my phone in another room and try to limit other external distractions if possible. The point is that this should be highly focused work if you want it to be effective.

Now you could apply this 15-20-20 method to the regular working day, but I would add a 10 minute break after the last 20 minute break before moving into another timeblock or just follow the standard pomodoro technique throughout the day. The method described here is something I primarily use for my side project work hours.