Archive for December, 2010

Getting more work done

December 31, 2010

Jason Fried doesn’t like business meetings. Why? Because, he says, “Meetings are places to go to talk about things you’re supposed to be doing later.”  The problem with this process is that it disrupts work flow. If you’re in the midst of a creative or logical endeavor, you must interrupt your course of action, however productive it may be, to attend the meeting.

What Fried does like is uninterrupted blocks of time.  Having an entire morning or afternoon dedicated to the project at hand gives you time to settle in and focus your energy on getting the job done. Too often, a person who spends his or her day in a business office ends up with, not a work day, but work minutes.

 That’s why work doesn’t happen at work, argued Fried in a presentation so titled, given to a TED audience this past October on the website.

 In addition to formal meetings, there are other interruptions such as mandatory lunches, informal sessions, phone calls, etc. 

 Solutions for Managers
For a manager desiring more productivity, one obvious solution is to allow people to work from home, at least on a part-time basis.

 For work done at the office, Fried suggests:
– Cut back on the number of formal meetings. Fried claims that managers would probably be surprised to learn how many meetings are not necessary.
–  Make use of collaborative software, email, and messaging systems so people can share ideas and tasks without the need for everyone to assemble in one particular place for a set time period.
– Have a “no talk” day or a “no talk” morning at least once a month. The intent is for everyone to have a period of time to just work on his or her project without interruption. 

The best gift a manager can give a worker is a block of uninterrupted time, insists Fried. His final comment: “I think it’ll pay off in the end.”

To listen to Fried’s presentation, visit the TED website, Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work.

This blog is an excerpt from Getting More Work Done published on