March 24, 2010

by Kim Taylor

I recently had the pleasure of attending Inc. magazine’s GrowCo conference. One of the biggest takeaways for me was during Jason Fried’s session “How and Why to Grow Slowly.” The takeaway wasn’t necessarily about growth … or maybe it was.

You see, Jason and his business partner at 37Signals recently released a book, “Rework,” and much of his session focused on the book’s content: re-thinking the way you work and helping you find an easier way to succeed in business.

Jason talked about what they do at 37Signals to minimize interruptions and distractions, thereby increasing productivity. And although seemingly counterintuitive, these really resonate.

Think about the amount of work you get done when you can close your door or pop in your headphones and get “in the zone” … no distractions, no taps on the shoulders, no pop-ins from co-workers, no meetings. The book even suggests “going all the way with it” and giving up the communication (gasp!) addiction.

I don’t think they’re suggesting solitary confinement or eliminating the socialization so important in the workplace, but they are suggesting that these types of distractions along with unnecessary meetings where everyone on staff is forced to participate even if their part only lasts 10 minutes are just giant time sucks.

What sort of changes can you make to your work environment to increase productivity? Can you schedule time daily just to be “in the zone” or maybe those distractions just make it easier for you to stay “busy.”

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