I just finished watching this Ted talk given by Jason Fried (co-founder of 37signals) titled; Why work doesn't happen at work.
This talk really hit home. For the final couple of years at my previous job we had enough meetings to make sure that it would be virtually impossible for people to get much done. What's worse, just because the way my brain works, the lack of “getting stuff done” would turn in to stress. I would feel like I needed to come in earlier or stay later at the office until I had accomplished something productive. But, once you start going in early or staying late, that can cause stress in other areas of your life. It really was a no-win situation.
I'm happy to say, in my new gig, we don't have a single scheduled internal meeting.
While listening to the Ted talk, Jason threw out the idea of “No talking Thursdays” and I literally laughed out loud. Not because I thought it was a silly idea. Quite the opposite, really. But, it reminded me of something my friend Jason Murphy and I had come up with a few years back; No New Ideas Thursdays. Here's why:
Jason and had been friends and worked for the same company, but on two opposite ends of the building. Then, I got moved to an office right next to Jason's. We weren't working on the same team, per se. But, our goals were pretty similar and we would constantly chatter back and forth about how we could do this or that. The problem was, it wasn't JUST work related stuff. We had a 1000 ideas for websites we wanted to build outside of work. Then we'd talk about how to build it, or how to market it, or software, or, or, or… It got to the point where we instituted No New Ideas Thursdays so that we would come in, sit down and actually work on one project for the entire day. It was amazingly helpful.
At 9seeds, we haven't had to implement anything that drastic yet. Though, I believe we've each taken Radio Silence days where we just don't start up IM or Skype and only check email every couple hours. If you have the opportunity, try it. It's very productive!
If you work in a corporate job where you have to be somewhere from 9 to 5 (or 7 to 4 like at my previous job), take a few minutes and watch the video above. Then, send the link to your boss.