Skip to content

A Little Time | A Little Magic

Every once in a while, I write about taking breaks to be more productive. (This is probably because I sometimes forget to take breaks, and then I eventually feel like somebody glued me to my chair.)

06-22 Magic Work Cycle

Not so long ago, I saw an article about a study where the most productive people in a particular company worked for 52 minutes and then took 17-minute breaks (those must be averages).

I kept wanting to try this, but some of the available timers for working and taking breaks (many of them based on the Pomodoro technique), won’t allow odd times like 52 and 17 minutes.

Enter the Magic Work Cycle timer, which can accommodate any amount of time, from one minute to 120 minutes. When using the Web version, you just move the sliders to adjust work and break times

I appreciate adjustable timers, because how long I want my work and break periods to last depends on things like this:

  • Available time between now and the next scheduled thing on my calendar
  • How long I think the next task or set of tasks will take
  • Whether I’m writing (longer times at a stretch)
  • How I’m feeling, for example, whether I’m tired or just back from a long trip (shorter times, to assist with motivation)
  • How much I want to work on the next thing (or not)

06-23 Magic Work App
There’s an iOS app, too. You can choose from a set of lovely chimes for starting and ending work periods, and it has the advantage of being portable. But, you have to tap the minute settings to change the timing (one minute at a time). If you wanted to adjust these settings often, the tap-tap-tapping would get old.

Another drawback of the iOS app is that you cannot listen to music or podcasts while it is playing. For me, that means “no” for the app version. The online version (of course) does not have this limitation.

One great thing about both the online and app versions is that you can pause them. Some Pomodoro Technique folks feel that you have failed if you must stop your timer for any reason.

One timer I have even throws up hideously red reasons for stopping, demanding to know, “Why did you stop?”

Well, Dear Timer, maybe a client called, or maybe something else happened that seemed like a good reason for pausing. Please chill.

Seriously, the online Magic Work Cycle seems like a good tool for trying out the most productive combinations for working and taking breaks. If you try it. I’d love to hear how it works for you.


Post | To Be More Productive: Get Started | Focus | Take Breaks

Post | When Workers Heed Computer’s Reminder to Take a Break, Their Productivity Jumps, Cornell Study Finds

Post | The Exact Amount of Time Your Should Work Every Day

Post | The Rule of 52 and 17: It’s Random, But it Ups Your Productivity

Application | Magic Work Cycle

iOS App | Magic Work Cycle

Android App | Magic Work Cycle

Disclosure: Some links on this site are “affiliate links,” which means that I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase something.