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You Have 11 Minutes

January 18th, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

You know, I always knew my day was pretty chopped up, but man, I never guessed it was this bad. I stumbled across “Why modern offices only let you work for 11 minutes” via this entry on Slow Leadership and I had to post this. I’ve already said that Meetings are Like Goldfish (seriously, open slots on my calendar just don’t last – a good week has me spending “only” 2-3 hours a day in meetings…) and I was happy to see the folks at Signal vs. Noise chime in with Meetings considered harmful which touches on an article titled Bored meetings. Can’t help but notice that the Minnesota reference!

Some meetings are good, but most are just a waste of time (and money). It’s a very bad sign that many of my current and former coworkers come in early, stay late, or work from home in an effort to “get things done.” Don’t managers/companies see the issue here? Paul Graham touches on this in his piece “What Business Can Learn from Open Source.” To quote:

Companies spend millions to build office buildings for a single purpose: to be a place to work. And yet people working in their own homes, which aren’t even designed to be workplaces, end up being more productive.

What does this say about most companies these days? Why do we insist on physical presence? More importantly, why do we insist on so darn many meetings?!? I’m not advocating a completely virtual world; in fact, at Code Freeze, David Hussman talked about an issue he saw firsthand with a company that had staff located in the Twin Cities and Canada. While the local staff thought the virtual standup meetings were working well, the Canadian based team was really frustrated. David found out why first hand when he visited – there was a slight delay in the audio line so the Canadian team was constantly getting “talked over.” Instituting a CB style “over” paradigm cleared that right up.

Anyway, my point is multitasking just doesn’t work – at all. I mean come on, if even The Donald believes in slowing down… I think there are a lot of people that confuse face time with productivity and that’s just not the case in most jobs anymore. When we were a widget based economy and people worked on the line, yeah, we had to “be there” to do work and more hours meant more widgets. I don’t know about you, but come 3 o’clock, my brain is pretty frazzled. And to those people like Jeffrey Immelt that think working 100 hours a week is something to be proud of…all I have to say is GET A LIFE!

OK, lost sight of my point here a bit…oh yeah, so, what are you going to do with your 11 minutes today? Think your boss would *deliberately* put you in an environment where you could get so little done? Here’s a better question, what would happen if a company actually made it possible for its employees to have, say 60 minutes of productive time a day?

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  1. Hoffer
    January 20th, 2006 at 18:16 | #1

    Eleven minutes?!?!?


  2. January 21st, 2006 at 16:52 | #2

    Hmm, that can be taken a number of different ways… Wouldn’t it be great if we could just come in, do our 11 minutes (heck, let’s give them thirty) and then just go home? I mean if they’re only getting 1/6th of an hour out of productivity, what’s the point of the other 7 hours and 49 minutes? Thank goodness for off shoring. Thanks John, glad to know you’re reading this!

  1. January 26th, 2006 at 19:32 | #1
  2. February 24th, 2006 at 22:12 | #2