Work expands to fill the available time. It’s well known that we waste huge amounts of time during the day with email, procrastination, distraction and perfection being the big killers.
There is a simple fix to these problems, and these guys have nailed it in a simple infographic.
Applying the basic philosophy to our (agile) work environment involves:
- Email. is checked twice day, once at the start and once at the end of the day
- Be agile. Aim to deliver a minimum 1 item of work in the morning and 1 in the afternoon
- Timeboxing. Every task is limited to 30 minutes or 2 hours. Any greater than that and it’s multiple tasks
- Velocity. If you get stuck then stop, and move on
- Live clutter-free. Clear desk, or no desk. No more than 3 apps or browser tabs open at once.
- Liberated. Use tools and technology to set you free, not enslave you.
Agency tricks of the trade*
Email really is the big killer for most digital agencies so this need grappling first – you’re aiming to ween yourself off the evil of email.
- Never use email as a task list, use a proper task management application such as Basecamp
- Provide tools to simplify work-flow
- Encourage clients to avoid email by responding quicker using other communication methods
- Book no more than 25hrs of billable work per person into a working week
- For support, use a helpdesk application such as Zendesk
- Encourage an internal social network. It could be something simple as a Skype group, or something more sophisticated such as Podio or Yammer
- Get people working at home, in cafes and in bars
We’ve mostly learned the hard way, and often by accident. Many moons ago we lost our email servers and several hundred thousand emails. At the time most people had 100s or 1000s of emails in their inboxes and we feared the worst when the backup systems failed to work. We recovered in a few days, and never relied on email again – we also never had the need to check any of those emails again.
* Not really tricks – just stuff we’ve learned from being an agency for 17+ years