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What is the 60-Minutes Method?

Smartpedia: The 60-Minutes Method is a time management technique whereby you set aside 60 minutes each day to work on a dedicated task.

60-Minutes Method – dedicate time to one task for 60 minutes every day

Many parallel tasks, many simultaneous projects, continuously new requests from clients or colleagues – people’s working day quickly becomes confusing, stressful and sometimes even chaotic. When the mountain of tasks grows continuously and every task has a high priority, important activities, projects or plans are left undone. This is where a different approach is needed, and this is where the 60-minutes method comes into play.

The 60-minute method is a time management technique that involves taking 60 minutes each day to focus on a specific task or set of tasks without interruptions. The idea is to use this time to make progress on important tasks and not let distractions and interruptions hold you back.¹ No requests from colleagues, no emails, no phone calls!

In order for the technique to actually serve its purpose, it is advisable to reserve 60 minutes in your personal calendar so that there is some space for concentrated work to make step-by-step progress on a central topic during this period.

Tips for applying the 60-Minutes Method

Here are some important tips for applying the 60-Minutes Method:

  • Many people know the problem of having too many tasks in too short a time. This often leads to overtime or the postponement of activities that are necessary, for example, for a strategic plan or a medium-term project. Therefore, ideally choose one task for each day that is important enough to justify 60 minutes of your time.
  • Turn off notifications on your phone and computer, close your emails and other distractions to minimise interruptions during your 60 minutes. It may also be a good idea to swap a ‘noisy’, busy workstation for a ‘quieter’ one for the period.
  • Create a to-do list for the next 60 minutes in advance – e.g. always at the end of the 60 minutes – prioritise the tasks and set achievable goals for this period.
  • Use a timer to keep track of the 60 minutes and focus on the task at hand.
  • After each session, reflect on what you have achieved and adjust your approach if necessary.
  • Stick to the 60-Minute Method every day, at the same time if possible, to make concentrated work a habit.

Remark: While the 60-Minutes Method is a good way to work with concentration, don’t be afraid to adjust the duration of your concentrated work sessions to suit your needs.

Limitations of the 60-Minutes Method

Here are some of the limitations of the 60-Minutes Method:

  • It is not suitable for all tasks; some may require more than 60 minutes of uninterrupted time to make meaningful progress.
  • It can be difficult to set aside 60 minutes continuously each day, especially for people with demanding schedules, many addictions or important meetings.
  • It may not be suitable for people who have an unpredictable schedule or who need to be able to switch tasks quickly.
  • Some people prefer to work in shorter, more frequent intervals, while others prefer longer, uninterrupted stretches of concentrated work. So the 60-Minutes Method is not for everyone.

These limitations should be taken into account when deciding whether the 60-Minutes Method is really useful. On the one hand, it is a tool for concentrated, focused work; on the other hand, it is also important to adapt the approach to personal needs and working styles.

60-Minutes Method - dedicate time to one task for 60 minutes every day

Impulse to discuss:

How can a personally effective duration be determined that corresponds to the personal working style on the one hand and the task requirements on the other?

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[1] The origin of the method is unclear, and it is not known who exactly came up with the idea. The concept of using concentrated blocks of time to increase productivity and minimise distractions is a widely recognised technique, and there are probably several sources of inspiration for this approach. It is also possible that the 60-minute method is a variation on similar time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique, where work is divided into 25-minute intervals with short breaks.

In a way, the 60-Minutes Method is a daily jour fixe with oneself.

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