Working blocks

Working blocks are periods of focused work.01


Getting started. You can do anything for twenty-five minutes. When I first discovered this approach, I thought it was the ticket to permanently cure procrastination. Sadly, while it turns out not to be that simple—the treatment requires an artful balance of several components—the act of starting something does destroy a massive mental barrier. I had never experienced this before.


After seeing the extreme value of focused working blocks, it is tough to relax this view and see value in more nebulous working times. Unstructured messaging or impromptu meetings can be distractions, but they can also be the most valuable thing that happens to your work all week.

Getting into flow also presents challenge. The break of working blocks are good opportunities to reassess whether the task is worth the amount of time it’s taking. This might be generally helpful, but it adds cognitive dissonance and reduces absorption.


  1. The idea has also been branded the pomodoro. ↩︎