As a follow up to my last post, “Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work”, I wanted to bring attention to Jason Fried (and perhaps the 37signals crew) actually doing something about his disdain for meetings: Boycott A Meeting Day
When you visit the website, you see the follow pledge bar (taken at 2pm):
While I can definitely agree that meetings can be a waste of time, I want to spend a moment acknowledging the value they have, which is primarily at the start and end of tasks, in my experience.
While being sick and bedridden would drive most people to watch their favorite movies or catch up on the latest TV series on HULU, I most often find myself watching TED talks. As today is one of those days where I’m stuck at home, I wanted to share a great talk by Jason Fried about “Why work doesn’t happen at work.”
Fried’s talk hits home with an idea that many people can probably relate to; there are far too many distractions at work to allow real work to get done. As Fried puts it, “the door to the office is like a CusinArt, shredding your day into a million bits.” He points out that time spent on Facebook and Twitter today are the equivalent of the 15 minute smoking breaks in the 50s, and that it isn’t these distractions that are causing problems at work. Rather, the problems are M&Ms: managers and meetings.
The real distractions at work come from how your day gets fragmented into face-to-face interactions that remove you from your working environment. While this can seem productive at first, work, like sleep, happens in stages, where you have to progress through the early ones to get through the deep ones. If you are interrupted in those early stages, you don’t make it to the deeper, more productive ones. Fried’s talk is quite provocative, and he ultimately suggests a few strategies to make workplaces better.
Check out the full post for 16 minutes of great quotations like: “You can hide instant messages; you can’t hide your manager.”