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How long is a focus block for you? What works best for deep work in your experience?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer [SDE 1] at Amazon2 months ago

I know about the Pomodoro Technique but I feel that 25 minutes is too short of a time block to get and stay in the zone.

How would you organize your day into time blocks for deep work while maintaining focus and not burning out?

  • Four-hour blocks with a break in between?
  • One eight-hour block (if there are no meetings)?
  • One six-hour block?
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Discussion

(3 comments)
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 months ago

    Wow, all of those seem so long and daunting 🥲

    I try to do 90 minutes of focus blocks when I'm writing scripts or code. That's usually what I can handle in one sitting.

    Another option, specific to my situation, is to meetup IRL with Alex and Charlie and clearly define an objective before we meet. Then we can keep each other accountable to hitting that goal in the 4-5 hours that we meet. But in this scenario, we're not doing focused work the entire time.

    4+ hours in one go seems extremely challenging to truly do deep, focused work.

  • 1
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    Senior Software Engineer
    2 months ago

    I agree with Rahul, about 90 minutes works for me. It also tends to line up well with my “watercooler times” - times of the day to go get more water or coffee. These are opportunities to talk more with colleagues socially, refresh my brain, and stretch my legs.

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    I don't consider something a focus block unless it's at least 4 hours, but my definition is a bit skewed as I see a focus block as "protected" time, not a time where I'm purely 100% working with 0 interruption (this is difficult).

    In terms of how long I spend continuously working, it's 60-120 minutes. When that range hits, I'll need to take a small break to grab a snack, take a breather (i.e. look away from my computer and close my eyes for a bit), use the restroom, go for a small walk, etc.

    I recommend this playlist too: [Taro Top 10] Time Management And Productivity

Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, and much more. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, it has been referred to as "one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world".
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