Tired of feeling bored and unfocused when you’re tackling a project? It’s a known fact that taking breaks is good for productivity, but now there’s science behind how you can optimize your schedule. The solution lies in the numbers 52 and 17.

Research using the time-tracking app DeskTime shows that the most productive 10% of users follow a simple pattern – they work intensely for 52 minutes, then take a 17 minute break. It’s a bit like the popular Pomodoro technique, but with longer stretches of time.

“The reason that the most productive 10% of our users get the most done during the comparatively short periods of working time is that their working times are treated as sprints,” says Jūlija Gifford in the The Muse.

The other thing that the most productive employees had in common? They spent the breaks away from their computer. Taking a walk, socializing with coworkers, and relaxing while reading a book were some of the common activities that these productive employees did while on breaks.

As a freelancer, you probably have the ability to set your own schedule – which is awesome but can also make it even easier to procrastinate. If you’re looking to work smarter, not harder, try changing your break habits to increase your productivity.

Freelancers, what productivity techniques have you tried? Tell us about it in our community platform, Hives.

Antonia Blair likes all things related to art, design, and tech. Follow her on Twitter @AntoniaBlairArt