Jason Fried on Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work


Thought this was a good TED talk on the lack of productivity in the office.


While there are a lot of wasteful meetings and distractions at the office, I think it’s a little more nuanced.  A few things I’ve found helpful:

  1. If you share calendars at work, block out large chunks of your week to get stuff done.  This keeps people from imposing on your time with meetings.  I tend to do this at the beginning of the week,  so that if someone is planning ahead, they can schedule a meeting next week.   If a meeting absolutely needs to happen, I’ve found that people will call and see if you can free up time.
  2. Schedule 15 minute meetings at the beginning or end of the day.  This ensures that you’re timely and that everyone has large chunks of time in between.
  3. Fit the medium to the communication:
    1. Detailed plans for groups or summaries  – Email
    2. Sharing documents for review – some type of shared doc server
    3. Quick Questions – IM/Chat
    4. Anything involving conflict – Phone or Meeting
    5. Any complex topic where folks could misinterpret things – Meeting
    6. Status updates – Conf. Call

2 Responses to “Jason Fried on Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work”

  1. I don’t think #4 (conflict) can be over emphasized. That sort of thing *needs* to be as in person as possible. Also found that web cams can make *everything* easier.

  2. 2 Nicholas

    Here’s another strategy. For all the meetings you can’t get out of – make the case for cutting the duration in half. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in half the time.

    Also – the goal of each meeting should be clear and the work should be done outside the meeting. Unless, of course, the goal of the meeting is to ideate or collaborate.

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