Author Topic: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work  (Read 4303 times)

FireLane

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
  • Location: NYC
Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« on: March 26, 2019, 04:26:13 PM »
I really enjoyed this interview with David Hansson, creator of Ruby on Rails and co-founder of a tech company called Basecamp. He has a lot of good ideas - that should be normal, but aren't - about how to foster a healthy corporate culture that doesn't burn out employees for the sake of profit.

https://www.owllabs.com/remote-work-interviews/david-heinemeier-hansson

Some excerpts:

On being content to be small, and how the exponential-growth mindset encourages unethical behavior:

Quote
A big thing at most companies is KPIs – key performance indicators, and BHAGs – big hairy audacious goals. There are so many metrics for measuring the business, which the team constantly has to beat, month over month and year over year.

This strikes us as an unnecessarily stressful treadmill. If you meet your goals one quarter, there's always another quarter coming up with even higher goals. That's the nature of quarters– there's four of them per year, there's 40 of them per decade. If you're constantly on a path where things have to get bigger and grow faster and faster, and then grow exponentially, because that's the only way you can get to unicorn status, companies can end up in a dark place that leads entrepreneurs to encourage shady business or leadership practices because they're under so much pressure to get results.

On not working more hours for the sake of more hours:

Quote
I don't wish there were more than 24 hours in a day. In fact, there are plenty of hours in the day, and I only need 8 of those for work. That's enough. There's an obsession with the quantity of hours that people dedicate to work, which leads to some of the terrible stories we hear that are presented as though they're aspirational. I remember Marissa Mayer bragging about how she preferred working 130 hours a week, which only required her to be strategic about when she took showers and bathroom breaks. That doesn't sound like the life of a successful executive who's worth millions of dollars to me.

The human body is simply not built for the sort of exhaustion or physical abuse that comes from working that much in a week, but when we have celebrated executives from the most successful companies on the planet endorsing these practices, it's essentially being endorsed as an aspirational lifestyle – the lifestyle of working yourself to death.

On why meetings are a productivity killer (I especially love "calendar Tetris" - the plague of unnecessary meetings is one of the parts of my current job I dislike the most).

Quote
One of our strategies for protecting people's time is by skipping the game of calendar Tetris at Basecamp. At most companies, calendars are shared and open, so every employee sees each others' schedules and set meetings during their colleagues' open blocks of time. When everyone's time is available in that way, it's hard for people to plan their days around doing their best work, and instead, they get pulled into meetings. We want coordination and taking other people's time to be manual, annoying, and difficult.

Here's how we do it: If you're trying to coordinate a meeting between four people, there's no technology to help you do it. You have to contact each person individually and ask if they can meet during your proposed time. And if someone says no, you have to keep going back and forth with everyone to find a time that works. In short, it's a pain in the ass. Because you can't see everyone else's calendar, you're forced to do this manual song and dance to set a meeting, and that's exactly how we like it, because people won't go through that inconvenience unless they really need to hold a meeting. The policy also helps communicate that that open space on someone's calendar doesn't make them available for wasting time. The default policy is that open space on someone's calendar means they're working, which in most cases, is a better use of time than a meeting.

On a corporate culture that discourages workaholism and encourages a 40-hour week (or less!):

Quote
What we've found at Basecamp is that we have to explicitly remind and encourage everyone to work a 40 hour week 75% of the year, and then during the summers, we work 32 hours a week because we take Fridays off. We set and repeat the company-wide expectations: Don't work on the weekends. Don't send people emails at 10 p.m. expecting a response. Companies can set good examples in employee handbooks and within teams, but if the CEO and the executive suite are online and sending emails out at 2 a.m., that will trickle down into workaholism, so these practices need to be modeled from the top.

Quote
People sometimes think we've reverse-engineered calmness now that we've reached a certain point of maturity and growth, and that when we faced difficulties as a business, we put in more hours. People have an instinctive gut-reaction of disbelief when we share our story of how we work, either because they're a new business, or they're stressed out by the goals they have to reach for.

People don't believe me when I say we've never worked 120-hour weeks even when we were bootstrapping things, which I find so profound. It's profound to me that saying we work a traditional 40-hour work week is met with disbelief. People are so trapped in the idea that, in order to successfully build a company, you have to put in heroic quantities of work as simply the table stakes for life as a startup founder or entrepreneur. People think it's not a choice, and we're pushing back on that idea and saying, it is a choice – and it's one that all companies should make.

MonkeyJenga

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8491
  • Location: the woods
  • resting up for 2020
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2019, 05:19:28 PM »
And think of how many people just decided to apply to his company when they read this! Great PR.

Quote
The default policy is that open space on someone's calendar means they're working, which in most cases, is a better use of time than a meeting.

Hahaha. Love it.

katsiki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1446
  • Age: 39
  • Location: La.
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2019, 05:33:45 PM »
I started reading this book a few days ago.  So far, it is good.  I am curious if I will find it actionable.

I discovered it via this blog if anyone wants to get another take on it: https://www.abandonedcubicle.com/crazy-at-work/

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9835
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2019, 08:26:36 PM »
And think of how many people just decided to apply to his company when they read this! Great PR.

Quote
The default policy is that open space on someone's calendar means they're working, which in most cases, is a better use of time than a meeting.

Hahaha. Love it.

Sadly they have implemented a hiring freeze because they decided they don't want to get any bigger (because then the founders wouldn't have time to do the work they enjoy the most).

Great interview, though!  I have sent the link on to DS -- we were talking a lot today about the dysfunctional aspects of the culture he sees in many of his peers, and how to look for a company/role that is sustainable and enjoyable, not necessarily just high-paying.

iluvzbeach

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 278
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2019, 08:32:10 PM »
I read the book back in December and really liked it. Since then I’ve worked really hard to implement some of the key items they suggest. It’s really helped me quite a bit and I’m feeling a lot less burned out.

nick663

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 300
  • Location: midwest
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2019, 08:37:03 PM »
Quote
Companies can set good examples in employee handbooks and within teams, but if the CEO and the executive suite are online and sending emails out at 2 a.m., that will trickle down into workaholism, so these practices need to be modeled from the top.
This is very true and something I'm dealing with at my current company.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2019, 08:40:48 PM by nick663 »

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4879
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2019, 08:38:30 PM »
This was great.

Thanks for sharing!

Spud

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 90
  • Location: Southwest England, UK.
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2019, 03:39:16 AM »
Posting to bookmark.

I think the key thing to note from the interview, although it's not revelatory by any means, is that workplace culture trickles down from the top. If your senior folk are working until 23:00 and send email during the night, you probably can't escape. If on the other hand your senior people are like David Hannson, then you won't have to work yourself into the ground.

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1508
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2019, 04:50:47 AM »
Posting to bookmark.

I think the key thing to note from the interview, although it's not revelatory by any means, is that workplace culture trickles down from the top. If your senior folk are working until 23:00 and send email during the night, you probably can't escape. If on the other hand your senior people are like David Hannson, then you won't have to work yourself into the ground.

This is true for the most part, but one can also simply refuse to participate in this practice, and in some cases, you can even make changes uphill.

In the early days at my job, I can't tell you how many times I replied to a late night email with "It's late. Stop working."

GreenToTheCore

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 168
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2019, 12:30:16 PM »
In the early days at my job, I can't tell you how many times I replied to a late night email with "It's late. Stop working."

This reminded me how during my first week at my first real job: my leader came over at the end of the day and turned off my monitor, "Time to go home. You can finish training to that document tomorrow".

I try to do this with the newbies at work. They come in feeling like they must prove themselves with long hours. We talk about the difference between ass-in-chair and actual productivity, the value of time management, and the expectation that you use personal time to ensure that you don't get burned-out. Long term view people, most companies would like to be around for a few decades.

How do we shift the assumption?
From: They stay late at work all the time, they must be getting so much more done
To: They stay late at work all the time, they must not be very efficient/poor with time management.

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1508
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2019, 12:40:38 PM »
In the early days at my job, I can't tell you how many times I replied to a late night email with "It's late. Stop working."

This reminded me how during my first week at my first real job: my leader came over at the end of the day and turned off my monitor, "Time to go home. You can finish training to that document tomorrow".

I try to do this with the newbies at work. They come in feeling like they must prove themselves with long hours. We talk about the difference between ass-in-chair and actual productivity, the value of time management, and the expectation that you use personal time to ensure that you don't get burned-out. Long term view people, most companies would like to be around for a few decades.

How do we shift the assumption?
From: They stay late at work all the time, they must be getting so much more done
To: They stay late at work all the time, they must not be very efficient/poor with time management.

Yeah, except my replies of "It's late. Stop working" were to my boss...

FireLane

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
  • Location: NYC
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2019, 02:53:18 PM »
Damn. I definitely believe in setting expectations early at a new job, but telling your boss to stop working is next-level stuff. Bravo, Malkynn!

ditheca

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 226
  • Age: 36
  • Location: ST GEORGE, UT
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2019, 12:41:24 AM »
I work from home. My boss regularly calls me exactly at quitting time.  There's rarely a specific reason for the call, usually he just wants to discuss the random challenges of the day.  In our profession, that's actually a good idea, but why do we have to do it after hours?

Full disclosure: Boss works two time zones east of me.  He's already worked an hour or two overtime before he picks up the phone...

I do often suggest he 'take the rest of the day off', but he rarely takes the hint.

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1508
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2019, 04:22:16 AM »
Damn. I definitely believe in setting expectations early at a new job, but telling your boss to stop working is next-level stuff. Bravo, Malkynn!

Lol, that's about the least bold thing I've ever said to my boss.
I've also been a very good influence. My boss no longer stays late, ever, and has now downshifted to part time at 40 years old.

Kyle Schuant

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 810
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2019, 05:43:05 AM »
How do we shift the assumption?
From: They stay late at work all the time, they must be getting so much more done
To: They stay late at work all the time, they must not be very efficient/poor with time management.
By questioning it every time it comes up.

"It's 7pm over there! You're still there? My god, what went wrong?"
"It's 6pm. I didn't know you had flexi-time, did you start at 11am or something?"
"Everyone here is working late. Did half the team get fired?"

Just be innocent. Ask innocent questions as though you didn't know people thought this was normal. You keep doing that and eventually people start asking themselves those questions, too.

Remember, about 40% of jobs are bullshit jobs, and even in productive jobs, the average person is only actually working for less than three hours a day. They're also searching for other jobs for almost half an hour a day, I suppose they feel overworked.

So if only 60% of jobs are real productive jobs, and if the people doing them are only actually working on their job 38% of the time, then that means that the entire productive work of our society is done with 23% of the work hours paid for. So we're doing unpaid overtime because...?

Cut out the bullshit jobs and the faffing about and we could have a one-day work week.

You'll never effect change in a large organisation. Start your own business. Small businesses are much more efficient, if you employ only 3 people you've no room for box-tickers and goons and flunkies, and there are never any meetings because you talk to each-other all day.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 05:44:45 AM by Kyle Schuant »

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1508
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2019, 06:56:12 AM »
^Yep

The moment I started working in my office I started calling out the long hours, working through lunch, micro management crap, etc.

I said repeatedly: "We don't bill enough to justify these hours, the goal should be to have systems in place that prevent this kind of rampant inefficiency. Working late is a symptom of systems failure, it's not a sign of dedication it's a sign of desperation in the face of organizational failure."

GreenToTheCore

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 168
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2019, 08:50:46 AM »
Damn. I definitely believe in setting expectations early at a new job, but telling your boss to stop working is next-level stuff. Bravo, Malkynn!

Lol, that's about the least bold thing I've ever said to my boss.
I've also been a very good influence. My boss no longer stays late, ever, and has now downshifted to part time at 40 years old.
What FireLane said. That's pretty awesome to see your actions change others' behavior!

GreenToTheCore

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 168
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2019, 08:55:46 AM »
... have systems in place that prevent this kind of rampant inefficiency. Working late is a symptom of systems failure, it's not a sign of dedication it's a sign of desperation in the face of organizational failure."

This. I feel like the working world has been around long enough that we should be further along in knowing how to design companies to reward good behavior and disincentivize bad behavior.
How to disincentivize a two-faced boss who is a terror to their team but knows how to talk to upper leadership? How do you catch that from above since you only experience a top-notch professional person? My suggestion was turnover rates. Thoughts?

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1508
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2019, 09:45:15 AM »
^ I don't have the answers to that.

However, I do know that as long as people are complicit in their own professional misery that things will never change. As long as employees believe that they have no options, that they have no power, and that they prefer security over rocking the boat, then they will continue to give up the enormous amount of influence that they actually possess.

If there is a demonstrably better way to do things and the employees insist on doing things in that way while getting better results, then a management structure that discourages it will inevitably have to change. Either that or the management structure is fundamentally self destructive and you shouldn't want to stay there anyway.

My attitude is "I'll either fix this place or I'll leave." I put 3 years into fixing my last office until I had to accept that management would never be reasonable. The day I fully realized that, I gave my notice and walked away from a very lucrative and highly "desirable" job.

Can you fix every company? No.
Can employees have infinitely more influence on corporate culture than they realize?? Oh hell yes.
Is there a lot of risk? You bet!
Is it worth it? Depends...are you okay being miserable at work for years on end???

Now, that said, I put my money where my mouth is.
I've put in hundreds of unpaid hours developing and implementing systems, working with staff, having meetings with my boss, etc, etc.

For me it's worth it to have a peaceful and productive workplace, and my boss can't argue with the significant increase in productivity along with an enormous decrease in conflict and stress.

The key is *demonstrably superior strategies* being insisted upon by those who actually *do the work*. Which is radically different from overworked and poorly managed staff just bitching about how awful things are.

MonkeyJenga

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8491
  • Location: the woods
  • resting up for 2020
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2019, 10:04:43 AM »
... have systems in place that prevent this kind of rampant inefficiency. Working late is a symptom of systems failure, it's not a sign of dedication it's a sign of desperation in the face of organizational failure."

This. I feel like the working world has been around long enough that we should be further along in knowing how to design companies to reward good behavior and disincentivize bad behavior.
How to disincentivize a two-faced boss who is a terror to their team but knows how to talk to upper leadership? How do you catch that from above since you only experience a top-notch professional person? My suggestion was turnover rates. Thoughts?

This is something senior management needs to implement, but 360 reviews help in theory. Formal complaints to HR with documented issues. Actually talking to your employees so you can spot issues before it gets to HR level. And yeah, high turnover is an indicator.

One of my old bosses had at least one formal complaint, and all of their team members left within 2 months. That person got laid off.

Quote
The key is *demonstrably superior strategies* being insisted upon by those who actually *do the work*. Which is radically different from overworked and poorly managed staff just bitching about how awful things are.

I will say, I tried this at my last job. There was so much resistance to change, that even when I pushed for realistic scope and created demos on how to solve our biggest issues, they fought back. They gathered feedback from the entire team about pain points, I proposed solutions, got buy in from people needed to create the solutions, and built it myself where possible. They ignored it.

So I quit. Everyone else is too tied to the mission to fight back, and too tied to career progression to leave.

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1508
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2019, 10:07:16 AM »
^Yep.

As I said, some structures can't be fixed.
You can either stay stuck in the pig shit or move on. Staying in a company that can't be fixed is like staying in a bad marriage. Sure, leaving is expensive, but it's so worth it in the end.

js82

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 111
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2019, 06:48:02 PM »
^Yep.

As I said, some structures can't be fixed.
You can either stay stuck in the pig shit or move on. Staying in a company that can't be fixed is like staying in a bad marriage. Sure, leaving is expensive, but it's so worth it in the end.

Out of curiosity, have you dealt with a company where "Schedule Tetris" as described in the article above was a major problem - and if so, do you have any suggestions on how to push back against this effectively?

In my current job, this is a huge problem, and one of the main reasons I'm exhausted.  One particularly awful flavor of this is: "I scheduled a lunch meeting because I can't find another time where everyone is free." - which happens with excessive regularity where I work.  I'm struggling to think of an effective way of getting the frequent offenders to comprehend just how screwed up and backwards this is.

Any suggestions on pushing back on this effectively?  There are multiple aspects of my organization's culture around meetings that are horrendously screwed up (Insufficient focus, inviting 2-3x as many people as should actually be invited, thus wasting even more time, etc.), and if we could fix them it would make us both more productive as an organization, and improve the quality of our work environment immensely.

Kyle Schuant

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 810
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2019, 07:56:55 PM »
Well, obviously you have to book yourself appointments during lunchtimes, for a start.

0900-1200 [js82 - work]
1200-1200 [js82 - lunch]
1300-1700 [js82 - work]

There, you're booked out for the day now and just missed all the meetings :)

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1508
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2019, 06:20:06 AM »
^Yep.

As I said, some structures can't be fixed.
You can either stay stuck in the pig shit or move on. Staying in a company that can't be fixed is like staying in a bad marriage. Sure, leaving is expensive, but it's so worth it in the end.

Out of curiosity, have you dealt with a company where "Schedule Tetris" as described in the article above was a major problem - and if so, do you have any suggestions on how to push back against this effectively?

In my current job, this is a huge problem, and one of the main reasons I'm exhausted.  One particularly awful flavor of this is: "I scheduled a lunch meeting because I can't find another time where everyone is free." - which happens with excessive regularity where I work.  I'm struggling to think of an effective way of getting the frequent offenders to comprehend just how screwed up and backwards this is.

Any suggestions on pushing back on this effectively?  There are multiple aspects of my organization's culture around meetings that are horrendously screwed up (Insufficient focus, inviting 2-3x as many people as should actually be invited, thus wasting even more time, etc.), and if we could fix them it would make us both more productive as an organization, and improve the quality of our work environment immensely.

My strategy is not so much push back as establishing my own standards and being very firm about them.

I would identify lunch meetings as an inefficiency and insist on a sustainable and functional system for meetings. A system that requires work beyond the norm on a regular basis is a broken system.

I would consult and work with my colleagues to develop an effective and functional system for meetings that would actually work properly, and then collectively insist on at least trying the new approach and seeing if it works.

nick663

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 300
  • Location: midwest
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2019, 04:25:58 PM »
^Yep.

As I said, some structures can't be fixed.
You can either stay stuck in the pig shit or move on. Staying in a company that can't be fixed is like staying in a bad marriage. Sure, leaving is expensive, but it's so worth it in the end.

Out of curiosity, have you dealt with a company where "Schedule Tetris" as described in the article above was a major problem - and if so, do you have any suggestions on how to push back against this effectively?

In my current job, this is a huge problem, and one of the main reasons I'm exhausted.  One particularly awful flavor of this is: "I scheduled a lunch meeting because I can't find another time where everyone is free." - which happens with excessive regularity where I work.  I'm struggling to think of an effective way of getting the frequent offenders to comprehend just how screwed up and backwards this is.

Any suggestions on pushing back on this effectively?  There are multiple aspects of my organization's culture around meetings that are horrendously screwed up (Insufficient focus, inviting 2-3x as many people as should actually be invited, thus wasting even more time, etc.), and if we could fix them it would make us both more productive as an organization, and improve the quality of our work environment immensely.
Best thing I've found to do is block out time on your calendar.  Don't give them a hole to put a meeting in.

I feel like this is also way more prevalent with webex meetings.  Replying to the organizer with "Where is this meeting being held?  I'd like to attend in person." makes them reconsider how badly you needed to be invited.

FireLane

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
  • Location: NYC
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2019, 07:35:52 PM »
Out of curiosity, have you dealt with a company where "Schedule Tetris" as described in the article above was a major problem - and if so, do you have any suggestions on how to push back against this effectively?

In my current job, this is a huge problem, and one of the main reasons I'm exhausted.  One particularly awful flavor of this is: "I scheduled a lunch meeting because I can't find another time where everyone is free." - which happens with excessive regularity where I work.  I'm struggling to think of an effective way of getting the frequent offenders to comprehend just how screwed up and backwards this is.

Any suggestions on pushing back on this effectively?  There are multiple aspects of my organization's culture around meetings that are horrendously screwed up (Insufficient focus, inviting 2-3x as many people as should actually be invited, thus wasting even more time, etc.), and if we could fix them it would make us both more productive as an organization, and improve the quality of our work environment immensely.
Best thing I've found to do is block out time on your calendar.  Don't give them a hole to put a meeting in.

I do this as well. When I have lunch plans or gym plans or an errand to run, I block out the time by setting up a "meeting" on my calendar and mark it as private so no one can see what it's for. This also works if you do it at the end of the day, so workaholics who habitually stay late don't try to invite you to meetings when you plan to leave the office.

Something else I've done with success when I'm invited to a useless meeting is to e-mail the organizer and ask what they wanted to discuss. Ostensibly it's to prepare, but more often than not, the meeting topic could have been resolved with an e-mail, and I can answer their questions then and there and make the actual meeting unnecessary.

Last but not least, if you're sure there's no reason for you to attend a meeting, you can just not go. Usually you won't be missed, but you can invent a "work emergency" if anyone asks.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4019
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2019, 11:26:53 AM »
^^

Those are the main things I do.

Usually on Mondays, I look at my whole week. I block a number of 2-4 hour chunks of time by scheduling a meeting with the project name.  I leave plenty of useless 30 and 60 minute slots between other meetings, but I protect the longer chunks.

I block an hour for lunch/walk/errands.

I tentatively accept meetings and include on my reply that I am not sure if I can make it, so let me know if they need any info from me

I Skype in to larger group meetings so I can do easy tasks like sort email, clean my cube, etc if the meeting is useless. If I go in person o can't very well walk out I it is useless :)

I block meetings at the end of my day so people can't schedule late stuff.

flipboard

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 280
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2019, 12:14:16 PM »
Last but not least, if you're sure there's no reason for you to attend a meeting, you can just not go. Usually you won't be missed, but you can invent a "work emergency" if anyone asks.
I like this trick. What would make it even easier for me is that the calendar is unreliable and doesn't always notify me.

Fortunately I have close to no meetings so I'd never need to use it - but if that changes then I'm all sorted.

Linea_Norway

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5676
  • Location: Norway
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2019, 01:59:34 PM »
Last but not least, if you're sure there's no reason for you to attend a meeting, you can just not go. Usually you won't be missed, but you can invent a "work emergency" if anyone asks.
I like this trick. What would make it even easier for me is that the calendar is unreliable and doesn't always notify me.

Fortunately I have close to no meetings so I'd never need to use it - but if that changes then I'm all sorted.

This is not always the case. I was once assigned to a project, but got unassigned from it before it took off. But I still got all the meeting invites. I just ignored them, because I was busy enough with the two other projects I worked on. But one of the group leaders told me once that this was not optional. This project is so important that even we who don't work on it, should attend to the monthly project leader talks. Despite for that the content is not interesting for me. I will probably/hopefully also be retired before I be assigned to that project again.

nick663

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 300
  • Location: midwest
Re: Why It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2019, 09:30:53 AM »
So... I bought his book and am about 1/2 way through.  So far I'm pretty disappointed.  Very little that is actionable from an employee standpoint and almost no detail on how they arrived at doing these things.  It seems more of an infomercial for Basecamp than anything.