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Is Your Workplace Keeping You From Getting Work Done?

I'm busySo there's this brilliant video over at bigthink.com of an interview with web entrepreneur Jason Fried about Why You Can't Work at Work. I say it's brilliant because he shines light on workplace issues that no one ever really talks about.

Watch the video and tell me what you think about his concepts in a comment below. But if you can't watch the video (maybe because you're at work and don't want to be interrupted? Har-har...), here are his key points:

  • "You go to work to get interrupted." With nonstop meetings and people wanting instant attention, today's modern workplace is all about interruptions instead of productivity. "And the other thing about interruptions and calling people’s names, and ringing them on the phone and stuff: It’s actually really an arrogant sort of move because you’re saying that whatever I have to ask you is more important than what you’re doing. Because I’m going to stop you from doing what you are doing for me to ask you this question that probably doesn’t matter anyway....And unless it’s a true emergency, where you really need an answer right now, then you just let them be and they’ll get back to you in three hours."
  • You end up working longer hours and doing most of your real work after work or on weekends. It's not that you have that much work to do, but all of the interruptions during your normal workday prevent you from doing it.
  • Longer periods of uninterrupted time increases productivity. "So, if I’m busy...I don’t have to check email, I don’t have to check IM. I can put those things aside and do my work. And then when I’m done with my work and I need a break, I can go check these things out....But if someone’s calling my name, or tapping on my shoulder, or knocking on my door, I can’t ignore those things. I can quit a program, but I can’t quit someone knocking on my door."

This can be perceived as an exaggerated point of view, and it might not apply to your own workplace (and if it does, you probably can't do much to change it). But there's a lot more to his argument, including quite a bit of humor, so I urge you to watch the video if you have the time.

What do you think of interruptions in the workplace? Does this sound like your typical workday?
 

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