Increase productivity with 25 minute blasts

If you’re struggling to be productive and find that you’re spending much of your working days drifting and lacking focus, try this simple trick. Trust me, working feels so much easier, you’ll be so much more productive – and the biggest joy of it – you get more breaks but get more done!

1. Break up your working day into 30 minute chunks

2. Work for 25 minutes

3. Take a break for 5 minutes

4. Repeat


Increase productivity


Before you dismiss this as something too simple to be powerful, let’s look at the huge benefits of each step:


1) Break up your working day into 30 minute chunks


It’s actually very hard for anyone to focus on one activity for longer than that. When I was a secondary school teacher, when planning our lessons we’d never design any single activity to last for longer than 20 minutes, absolute max. After that, folk drift and it becomes really hard for them to concentrate. This isn’t just because they were teenagers – this is true of most adults too. It’s SO much easier to keep on track with impetus and clarity when you know you only need to focus on something for 30 minutes.

If you like to plan your days in detail, you can spend 5-10 minutes at the start of the day (or end of the previous day) deciding which tasks you’re going to allocate to each 30 minute segment. However, it can be hard sometimes to gauge how long it will take to complete a particular task, so what I feel works better for most people is to just decide on 1-3 key tasks to allocate to that particular day, prioritised in order of importance, and then just try to get through them in order, in 30 minute chunks.




2) Work for 25 minutes


Put your phone in another room, and commit to working solidly on your chosen task for 25 minutes. Use this timer on your computer to time yourself. Don’t use the timer on your phone – your phone is too big a distraction risk.

One option is to just try to get as much done as you can in 25 minutes. Alternatively you could create a little challenge for yourself to finish the task before the alarm goes off, if you think the task might possibly be completable in that time. For example, clear your inbox in 25 minutes / schedule a week’s social media posts in 25 minutes / cull a shoot in 25 minutes.


Increase productivity


3) Take a break for 5 minutes


The Pomodoro Technique tells you to time block in 30 minute chunks containing 25 minutes of work followed by a 5 minute break.

Generally speaking, most people stop for a lunch break but we often don’t give ourselves any other proper breaks (nipping to the loo occasionally or grabbing the odd brew doesn’t count!) At busy times of year when I’ve got a lot on and feel the pressure to keep working as hard as I can, it’s even been known for me to skip my lunch break completely and to slog away all day without a break at all. Unsurprisingly, on days like this, I find that despite my best efforts, my productivity dramatically drops as the day progresses. On days like these I often feel utterly exhausted by the end of it, but like I’ve not got nearly as much done as I’d hoped. It can be really demoralising.

I always used to feel like breaks were ‘slacking off’ but actually they really recharge you and make you SO much more productive. It doesn’t have to be a huge break (3-5 minutes really works!) – just give your eyes and brain a rest from the task at hand. You’ll be surprised by how much more ‘on it’ you are when you come back. I often find that during my break, or as soon as I come back, I get a lightbulb moment about something I was stuck on before. It really does give your brain chance to breathe and come back stronger. It’s like resting between sets of reps lifting weights – the break actually helps you to come back stronger, or at least as strong, in the next set, rather than declining as you would if you just kept going. Rest isn’t just to give you a break. Repair happens during the rest.


Increase productivity


Ideally take the full 5 minutes. Get up, stretch your legs, walk away from your desk and out of the room you’re working in. Then – whatever suits you best – make a drink, do some breathing exercises, lie down on your bed or the sofa, sit in the garden, do some people-watching or nature-watching out of the window, splash water on your face, do some stretches, put some washing on, water the plants, stroke the dog, read a chapter of your book – anything at all, just whatever feels restful and pleasant to you personally.

NB: If you really feel you must check your phone during your break, then do so – but be aware that this won’t rest your mind like the other activities above – ideally you want to be screen-free for this 5 minute break. If you absolutely must check it, after you’re finished, leave it there – don’t take it back into the room you’re working in.




4) Repeat


See steps 1-3 above! Obviously some tasks are larger and might take hours or even days or weeks to complete – but ALL larger tasks can be split up into multiple smaller 30 minute tasks. So either start a new task, or just carry on with the next step of a larger task you’re partway through.

After you’ve done 3 cycles of this (3 x 25 minute chunks of working), make your next break a longer 30 minute one, instead of 5 minutes. This is a great time to grab some food or do something relaxing that takes a little longer such as meditating, taking a shower, exercising, having a bigger reading session or going for a walk.

I hope this helps – it’s such a small, simple thing to do, it always surprises me how dramatic an impact and benefit it has.

Do you do this already, or is it something you’ve tried?

Anna 🙂








Not getting enough enquiries and bookings for your photography business? Don’t worry – in this pdf I give you 25 ways to get your photography business growing and thriving. Many of these most photographers never try!


By completing this form you're consenting to be added to the Anna Hardy Photography mailing list, from which you'll receive information and updates, including this free pdf. I handle your data with the utmost care, and you can opt out at any time.

25 ways to








Everything you need to ditch the overwhelm and get your photography business growing and thriving!
Come and join The Shutterhood for heaps more support with productivity as well as mountains of business, mindset and creativity training, plus a supportive community, image critiques, planning sessions and weekly coaching calls… Let’s make this your best year yet!






If you liked this article I have heaps of others for you!

Just click on whichever sounds most like you and I’ll take you to a page full of resources to help you ?


My biggest problem is MINDSET – I lack confidence

My biggest problem is BRANDING – I don’t know what makes me different to other photographers

My biggest problem is PRODUCTIVITY – I just can’t seem to get things done

My biggest problem is MARKETING – I don’t know how to best promote myself


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Manchester family photographer, for down-to-earth, adventurous, big-hearted families all across the North West, London and UK

Creative, documentary family photography in Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, London

what next?