By John Arenas | November 21, 2013

The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do to Lower Stress and Increase Productivity

It’s not only the home office that has people seeking alternatives.

When we were in school, we were not allowed to talk in class, and we were penalized if we did. It’s interesting then, that excessive talking is one of the major reasons for our inefficiency as adults in the workplace.

The modern office is an 8-year-old’s dream. Confined to a small, shared space all day, friendly colleagues  constantly seek the opportunity to socialize and avoid their work. It’s one of the major reasons that Jason Fried, co-founder of 37signals and co-author of the books Remote and Rework, points to why work doesn’t happen at work, and why we prefer to go someplace other than the office when we really need to get something done.

“Work, like sleep, is a phase-based event,” says Fried. “You have to go through lighter [phases] in order to get to the more important ones.”

As adults with responsibilities, we can’t afford to waste a workday by not getting anything done. How can we get meaningful work done when we are constantly being interrupted?

A well-equipped office, says Fried, goes beyond software and equipment. CoTher Single Most Important Thing You Can Do to Lowenstant meetings, check-ins, and other unexpected interruptions hinder productivity.

He suggests trying out a quiet hours rule once a month in the afternoon, during which no one in the office is allowed to speak to one another, and encourages more passive lines of communication—instant message or email—rather than stopping by a person’s desk to ask a question, so the person can choose when they can and want to be interrupted.

Now if we could only get them to implement 2pm nap time…

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