52/17 rule

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The 52/17 Rule is a time management method that recommends 52 minutes of focused working followed by 17 minutes of complete resting and recharging.

This principle was first presented in 2014 in an article for The Muse[1] and has since then been covered by other media outlets.[2][3][4] The 52/17 productivity principle was initially discovered and explained by the time-tracking and productivity app DeskTime.[1]

This approach is based on the idea that the human brain can only maintain a high level of focus and concentration for a limited time before becoming fatigued.[5] By taking regular breaks, individuals can prevent burnout, reduce stress and maintain their energy levels throughout the day.[6]

During the 52-minute work period, practitioners are encouraged to focus on a single task, eliminate distractions and work with intensity and concerted purpose. This approach not only aids in productivity and efficiency, but also boosts motivation and creativity.[7][8]

When taking the 17-minute break, practitioners are encouraged to engage in activities conductive to relaxation and rejuvenation, such as stretching, walking, meditating or listening to music. These activities can help to reduce stress, boost energy levels and improve overall well-being.

Original study[edit]

The study sought to analyse the most productive people[clarify] and discover the correlation between their work hours and productivity levels. To do that, the top 10% of the most productive people using the DeskTime app were isolated based on having the highest ratio of using "productive" applications for their line of work.[9]

Then the app analysed their computer-use behaviour during one workday. It was discovered that their workday was divided on average into 52-minute sprints of purposeful working and 17-minute breaks, which they spent away from the computer.[1]


After the success of the original article in The Muse, the method was also covered by Inc.,[10] Lifehacker,[11] The Atlantic,[12] Fast Company[13] and The Washington Post.[14] Thanks to that, the method has continued to gain popularity and other productivity apps and tools, for example, a mobile app[15] and a browser timer[16] were built in dedication to this productivity tactic.

Update to the rule[edit]

In 2022, the original team behind the initial study updated the rule with new findings, now the most common period ratio is 112/26.[17]

Comparison to the Pomodoro Technique[edit]

Like the Pomodoro Technique, the 52/17 Productivity Principle uses a strict working-resting ratio to achieve higher productivity. However, Pomodoro Technique is based on a 25/5-minute rather than 52/17-minute schedule. While the Pomodoro Technique has been very popular for decades, some productivity bloggers have reported that, as its 25-minute time slots are too short to produce effective results, they have instead opted for the 52/17 rule.[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "How the Most Productive People Schedule Their Day". The Muse. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Take a Break - The 52/17 Rule". Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  3. ^ "How (And Why) To Use The 52/17 Rule To Boost Productivity". 17 January 2023. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  4. ^ "Why Taking A Bunch Of Breaks Wasn't As Great As We Expected". Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  5. ^ Trougakos, J. P.; Hideg, I. (2015). "Working in episodes: A field study of breaks and focused work". Journal of Applied Psychology. 100 (6): 1643–1655. doi:10.1037/a0039004. PMID 25798720.
  6. ^ Hunter, E. M.; Chaskalson, M. (2017). "When it's mindfulness training and when it's cognitive-behavioral therapy: An exploratory study of framing in a workplace stress reduction intervention". Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. 22 (2): 153–167. doi:10.1037/ocp0000026. PMID 27054501. S2CID 21246293.
  7. ^ Rosenbaum, D. A.; Heidary, R. (2014). "The perilous lure of the multitasking myth". Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 143 (2): 731–738. doi:10.1037/a0035236. PMID 24364745.
  8. ^ Amabile, T. M. (1996). "Assessing the work environment for creativity". Academy of Management Journal. 39 (5): 1154–1184. doi:10.5465/256995 (inactive 19 April 2024). JSTOR 256995.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of April 2024 (link)
  9. ^ "Secret of the Most Productive People - Breaking | DeskTime Blog". 14 May 2018.
  10. ^ Stillman, Jessica (18 August 2014). "The Magic Numbers for Maximum Productivity: 52 and 17". Inc.com.
  11. ^ Patkar, Mihir (7 August 2014). "52-Minute Work, 17-Minute Break is the Ideal Productivity Schedule". Lifehacker.
  12. ^ Thompson, Derek (17 September 2014). "A Formula for Perfect Productivity: Work for 52 Minutes, Break for 17". The Atlantic.
  13. ^ Evans, Lisa (15 September 2014). "The Exact Amount Of Time You Should Work Every Day". Fast Company.
  14. ^ "What the most productive workers have in common". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  15. ^ "5217 - time management for increased productivity - Apps on Google Play".
  16. ^ "52-17 Productivity Improver". 52-17.com. Archived from the original on 11 February 2023. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  17. ^ "The 52/17 productivity rule UPDATED (It's all different now!)". YouTube.
  18. ^ "How (And Why) To Use The 52/17 Rule To Boost Productivity". 13 April 2021.
  19. ^ Johnson, Matt. "How to Stay Productive While Staying Sane | Taskable Blog". taskablehq.com. Retrieved 23 September 2021.