This series is an ode to our beloved clients who consistently tell us that back-to-back internal meetings are making it impossible to get any real work done.

They are not alone. While we all know the value of collaboration and face time, we are typically at the mercy of the busy search results that force us to sacrifice more than one lunch and even a few bathroom breaks if we are not careful.

But in our search for a better way to help our clients, as well as our team, manage business hours more efficiently, we found some amazing people who are winning this perpetual race against time. Although each approach may be different, they are also successful and ideally will inspire us to consider a new strategy when it comes to our workday, one that actually works.

Post 1: 20-Minute Units From Quantitative Futurist Amy Webb

Amy Webb is the founder of the Future Today Institute, and though some of today’s most prominent brands seek her ability to analyze trends, it is her working habits that can teach us a thing or two about focus, time management and her nine-hour work days without breaks.

Read the full article at lifehacker here.

Webb declares on days when she is writing she will spend nine hours at the office without taking breaks. She attributes her ability to stay focused for so long on “a combination of the brown noise, my earphones, and the exercise ball I sit on instead of a regular chair. I get up to use the washroom, of course, and I usually snack on nuts and dried fruit.” She also keeps social media and email “locked away.”

How Amy Webb and her team divide up their workday can help us evaluate our own processes. “Our workdays are divided into 20-minute units, and we use math to set every part of our schedules. We keep telephone calls/video calls to 1 unit, and most of our administrative meetings are 2 units. Certain strategy work takes 12 units. We’ve found that blocking out the day in units has resulted in much better and more realistic time management.”

As to why units and not hours? “I found that dividing the day into hours didn’t allow me to get everything done—I’d either set my expectations way too low or too high. The hour convention works well for groups who need to tell time, but I don’t think it works as well for productivity. For example, I learned that if I have 40 minutes rather than an hour to complete a task, I’m likely to focus and work harder. Meetings that last an hour tend to include a lot of wasted, unproductive moments. The 20-minute unit system is definitely an adjustment for people who work with me.”

We may not be as brilliant or as diligent as this Futurist, but possibly, Webb’s “units” approach inspires us to find a time management system that helps us work better too.

Let us know what you think!