This post from my personal blog is not related to aging, but it makes a little point about social networking that I want to pound into any naysayers who worry about Facebook being a waste of time in the office. You’ll find it in the third bullet below.
Have you ever looked back at your day in the office and noticed you accomplished nothing substantial despite running around all day, attending meetings, answering phone calls and generally staying busy? If your office experience was anything like mine, that was the norm rather than the exception. Frequent meetings about nothing. Constant interruptions by managers chipping away at any possibility of a long stretch of uninterrupted work.
Work is a lot like sleep, argues Jason Fried in the TEDx (Technology, Entertainment, Design) video below, requiring long stretches of uninterrupted time for it to amount to anything at all. Parents know this — I nearly went insane after being woken up every few hours during my daughter’s first few months. The same goes for work, especially jobs requiring creative thought or problem solving. You can’t hope to accomplish anything without several hours of uninterrupted time, and unfortunately, that is not possible in the modern office environment.
Fried is the co-founder of 37Signals, makers of Basecamp and other cool web-based collaboration software I wish I could afford. He obviously spends a lot of time thinking hard about collaboration and productivity. He makes a few radical points that I strongly agree with. I’ll paraphrase:
- Managers’ jobs are to interrupt people. That’s what they’re there for, because they don’t actually do any work. I (Fried) say this as a manager.
- Meetings are just toxic, terrible, poisonous things to have during the work day (anyone who has worked with me can imagine the way I pumped my arms and screamed YES! when I heard him say this). You would never see a meeting called by employees. Only a manager would need to fill time with something so disruptive.
- Facebook, Twitter and other modern-day diversions our bosses are so worried about as time-wasters are NOT the things that keep us from doing work. They’re the modern day equivalent of the smoke break and in small doses help keep us sane and productive.
Visit my blog for Fried’s three tips on getting work done at work and to watch the video.