Let’s be honest – in agency world, it’s not atypical for one’s daily outlook calendar to look something like this:
Meetings after meetings after meetings. Sometimes meetings are absolutely necessary but in most cases, they are either unnecessary or not properly structured to maximize efficiency. When your days are booked with meetings, you are unproductive and don’t get work done. The result? Valuable time is wasted and the following occurs:
- Longer hours spent playing catch up
- Less sleep
- Less creativity
- Decreased morale
In short, not healthy and yet meetings remain an embedded part of office culture that we all abide by regardless of the known consequences.
Unproductive meetings are a constant itch for me which is why I was excited to read Jason Fried and David Heinemeier’s critically acclaimed book, Rework. Jason and David are the owners of 37Signals, a company that provides web-based apps for assisting with project management and team collaboration. I became familiar with their company after using one of their products, basecamp, to assist with global project management for a client.
What I love most about this book is that it is perfectly tailored for it’s primary audience. I zipped through in a mere two hours (believe me, I’m far from being a speedy book reader). Chapters are divided up in a very logical, bite-sized manner that will leave you with a book full of dog-eared pages. While the read is geared towards tech-startups, there are many, many tidbits throughout that apply to anyone who works in an office.
A few key learnings I absorbed:
- Work less but more efficiently. Knock out the distractions and diversions throughout the day (check every email, make every meeting, chat with everyone that stops by your office, constantly check Tweetdeck, etc.)
- Chunk out decisions. Quick, small decisions reduce friction and eliminate another item on the checklist to address later.
- Reduce plans. One-year plans are great, except for the fact that they will likely change drastically two months from now. Focus on the factors you know will get you from A to B.
- Meet less. Make every meeting count. Structure agendas for maximum decision making and clear action items.
I’d also encourage you to check out this excerpt from the book to get a taste. Pick it up for your next flight, you won’t be disappointed.
P.S. Kudos to the team for using an old Chi video contact, Sandy, in this marketing video below. Enjoyed working with him on this project in the past. Also look forward to seeing how this behind-the-scenes video effort works for 37Signals.