Turn Your Work Day Into an Interval Workout for More Flow

Flow follows focus.

Getting absorbed in a single task for a sustained period, taking a mini break, and then beginning again on repeat until the task is complete is the not-so-secret secret to getting your goals accomplished.

Turns out, an interval workout is awfully similar to an ideal flow session.

In the fitness world, interval training involves intense bursts of work periods paired with rest periods. There’s endless variety within the structure of the work/recovery formats:

  • Tabata — 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest
  • Equal — 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest
  • Extended — 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest

Apply this to your work day now.

With your clear goals set the night before, schedule your day with intentional periods of focused, deep work and intentional, non-negotiable recovery brain breaks.

The difference is merely in the amount of time. In fitness, it’s seconds and in the workplace, it’s minutes.

My favorite format for when I am at my best during the day, knowing my chronotype as a “Third Bird” from Daniel Pink’s When: The Scientific Secrets to Perfect Timing, is a descending set of focused work blocks with an ascending set of mini movement breaks:

Deep Work Interval #1

  • 55 minutes focus
  • 5 minute movement/bio break

Deep Work Interval #2

  • 50 minutes focus
  • 10 minute movement/bio break

Deep Work Interval #3

  • 45 minutes focus
  • 15 minutes movement/bio break

Active Recovery Session #1

  • Walk
  • Lunch
  • Yoga nidra/non-sleep deep rest

Repeat a similar format for the afternoon depending on my sleep score from the night before.

I customize a Pomodoro timer to keep myself accountable not for the focused work, but for the breaks.

My highest-flow days are the ones I stick to this structure, when my work day looks like an interval workout.

Give it a try and see how much more flow and focus you get.



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Kevin Votaw

Kevin Votaw

Flow Coach. Applying flow in school, sports, and life: ❌ Flow x Fiero ♦️North of Happy ⚾ The Pitching DJ 🧠