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Why You Can’t Work At Work – The Burning Question

July 21, 2010

Ok, how many times have you left work and at the end of the day thinking, “I didn’t get anything done today”? Well, my answer to that is, “far too many “. You would think its simple, just go to work and have a list of things to get done that day and “Voilà” you’re done. Yeah, not so fast there fancy pants. It just doesn’t work that way. Why? You ask. Because you can’t work at work. Yes, you read it. You can’t work at work.

I recently had the opportunity to view a short video on this very subject. The video was done by a gentleman named Jason Fried. He is the co-founder and President of 37signals, a Chicago-based company committed to building the best web-based tools with the least number of features necessary. This video really hit home with me for many reasons. I find myself many times sitting in a quiet corner of Atlanta Bread Company in White Plains, New York just to get some work DONE. I often meet some of my colleagues there as well. Great minds think a like. I also find myself working a lot from home.

I do have my office at work but, I have far too many interruptions. Some that are urgent and others that are not. When I go to work and sit down at my desk I should be able to dig right in and get to work. By noon, I would love to have half of my to-do list done. Instead, by noon I have been on two conference calls, one meeting, countless phone calls, emails to return, and I have overheard the results of the reality show that was on last night (the water fountain is right outside my door). While watching this brilliant video I couldn’t help but think how many others have to deal this same situation.

So I thought I would write about it and maybe, just maybe, people would see there is real value and beauty in the basics.

My Perspective On The Optimal Workplace

Keep it simple. Simplicity has real value, and it can’t be measured in cold hard cash. It has delivered some of the world’s coolest, most user-friendly gadgets. By keeping the work place simple we can challenge conventional business wisdom and show a better way to make work more fulfilling and less frustrating.

What if everyone realized that work does not have to be as complicated as we make it? We don’t’ have to gunk it up with too much planning, too many meetings, and too much process and paperwork. What we really need to do is to stop talking and start working.

I believe that in order to simplify the workplace we will have to re-prioritize, re-think, and revolutionize the way our company approaches how we do business.

Simplify The Workplace – Can That Really Be Done?

Yes, I believe that if we take out all the unnecessary meetings, phone calls, and whatever else is slowing our progress down we can definitely be more productive at work. Now I am not saying that “Meetings are bad!” “Interruptions are bad!”. What I am saying is they need to be kept to a minimum for our workplace to run optimally. This in turn will lead to better morale and better quality of life.

I believe that technology can change and improve how people get their work done. The technology available today can really make our jobs and life’s more enjoyable and fulfilling. Who doesn’t want that?

So, after reading this article you find a few interesting nuggets to take with you and you find yourself nodding a few times, then I have done my job.

Let’s all go out there and call for more down to earth, hands-on, simple, smart, flexible, efficient, realistic businesses!

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One Comment
  1. GLP permalink

    absolutely true, Jerome.

    Routinely i outperform the stumbling giants caught up in their meetings while i am out talking to the client.

    Gary L Powell
    + 62 811 1997 01
    Balikpapan Kal Tim, Indonesia
    / Linked-In   / Plaxo    / Skype  / IM : MS Messenger
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/reignmakerkalimantan
    http://www.facebook.com/reignmaker

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