Workplace Hack: Get More Focused with Workstation Popcorn

This week’s workplace hack comes from Joel Runyon who’s developed a method that he claims helps him work faster, get more done and generally improves his quality of life. He calls it ‘workstation popcorn’.

The basic premise of workstation popcorn is that you allocate time slots to do tasks in, group tasks into 3 groups, and work on each group of tasks from a different location.

For example, say you have 8 items on your to-do list today. First estimate how long each task will take. Next, group tasks into 2-3 hour time slots. You might find that you can do 4 of the tasks in 2 hours, 1 task in 2.5 hours and the 3 tasks 3 hours.

Now, instead of sitting at your desk all day, pouring over these tasks, you work on each group from a different location. Perhaps you could do Group 1 at the office, and then move to a local coffee shop for Group 2 and a different cafe for Group 3. Knowing that you have to move after your allocated timeslot should help you to stay focused and motivate you to finish your tasks by your deadline.

Joel says that as well as helping him work faster and get more done, workstation popcorn has enabled him to get out and see more places, helped him to stop procrastinating, helped him get more exercise (by forcing himself to walk or cycle between locations) and helped him to sleep better at night.

Have you tried workstation popcorn? Share your experiences in the comments below!


This hack is part of a series of weekly workplace hacks that teaches you about collaboration, productivity and time saving tips. Published every Wednesday.

Image: Joel Runyon