Jason Fried is the co-founder and President of 37Signals and author of Rework. At a recent Ted Conference, he spoke on the topic of “Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work.” (Thanks to ChurchCrunch for bringing this video to my attention.)
Jason’s presentation got me to thinking, Where am I the most productive? Big surprise: it’s not at the office. Evidently, I am not alone.
Why is this? According to Jason, it’s because of “the M&Ms.” No, not the kind you eat, silly. Nor is it because of Twitter, Facebook, or blogs—what he calls the modern equivalent of a “smoke break.” Instead, it’s because of managers and meetings. Both can interrupt your work and make it nearly impossible to do real thinking or engage in significant, creative work.
While I think Jason probably over-argues his point, I think it is worth considering his question. Where, when, and how you are the most productive? More important, how can you intentionally build more of this space into your life?
I have three times when I am the most productive:
- Sitting on an airplane with my laptop, my Bose headphones, and a playlist of my favorite instrumental soundtracks.
- Alone in my den early in the morning, with my feet propped up on my recliner, my computer in my lap, and a steaming cup of coffee at my side.
- On Sunday evening after a relaxing weekend, while reviewing the previous week and planning for the upcoming one.
I also try to schedule time in the office every week, where I shut my door, go offline and work on specific projects. Borrowing a phrase from Jason, I call this “The Alone Zone.”
What about you?