If you are constantly staying late and working weekends, it’s not because there is too much work to be done, it’s because you are not getting enough done at work. And one of the primary reasons is interruptions.
Think about it: When do you get the most of your work done? If you are like most people, it’s at night or early in the morning. It’s mostly when you are alone. Isn’t it?
People are mostly answering calls, attending meetings, chatting with colleagues or responding to emails during office hours or peak working time. All these activities can be categorized into interruptions as they don’t add much value to your work. In fact these activities are corrosive to productivity.
Interruptions break your workday into a series of work moments. Forty five minutes and then you have a call. Fifteen minutes and then you have lunch. An hour later, you have a meeting or conference call. Before you know it, its five o’clock and you only had couple of interrupted hours to get your work done. It’s like start, stop, start, stop and then finish.
Instead, you should get in the work zone where you have minimal interruptions and by yourself. It’s your own zone to be productive. When you don’t have mind-shift between various tasks, you get things done. If you are a frequent flier like me, you will notice that you get lots done on a plane since you are offline most of the time and there are zero outside distractions. Getting into the work zone takes time and requires discipline.
You can set up a rule at work to avoid talking with others and be alone for few hours. It can be any time, two hours in a day or half a day. Just make sure this period is unbroken in order to avoid interruptions. And go all the way with it. A successful alone time period means letting go of communication addiction. Give up instant messages, social sites check-ins, phone calls, emails, etc. during this time. You will be surprised how much more you get done. Use passive communication tool where you respond when it’s scheduled as per your work zone instead of being forced to drop everything right away.
And don’t forget to track your work zones in TmTask. This will help you to see how many times you are being able to get your work done and adding value to your time. Add tag #productive to your activity to measure and manage your productive work zones.
Source: Rework, Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson