The World’s Best Productivity Aid… Focus

categories: Lifehack

timer%20utilityI often get asked how I get so much done. Granted I got asked that more before I quit the day job. I have learned that one of the best ways to be productive is to focus. But I only have so much focus in me so the trick that I use involves a timer.

The Amateur Traveler podcast that I put out pretty much every Saturday morning takes hours of production. The problem with that schedule means is I am often working on it late into the night on Friday nights. If there is one night that I don’t particularly feel like working it would probably be Friday. Now the smart person would probably finish the production work on Thursday but this is not a post on how to be smart.

Most weeks I finish the show by bribing myself. I set a timer for 25 minutes. During that 25 minutes I focus only on the show. I don’t answer email. I don’t look at twitter, AIM, or Skype. I don’t listen to podcasts. I don’t check facebook. I don’t sit within the sound of a TV or a radio. Then when the timer goes off I set it again for 5 minutes. During that 5 minutes I play. My game of choice is Age of Mythology. I don’t play it online where I could be caught up in something that would be hard to stop, because after 5 minutes the process repeats. 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of play.

Sometimes I get sucked into more than 5 minutes of play but more often I get sucked into more than 25 minutes of work. In theory, I could finish faster if I did not take time out for a break every 25 minutes, but what I have found is that without that break I would find excuses to do something else. My mind wants to wander. During that 5 minutes I might instead catch up on twitter or facebook. I probably listen to a podcast while I play. I might check my email, AIM or Skype, but then it’s back to work.

So my suggestion is to find time to focus… but also find time to play.

by Chris Christensen

I am the creator of, a popular travel blog / podcast. I am also a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast, The Bible Study Podcast and the Passport Marketing and PR Podcast. I am the owner of and a software consultant.

One Response to “The World’s Best Productivity Aid… Focus”

Sherry Ott


Wow…I can’t believe that you have time to play….kudos…I love your method!