When no one can take your time

When nobody can take anyone else’s time through a system, people end up with more time to themselves. When you have more time to yourself, you end up doing better work and more work. You can get a lot more stuff done in a given day than maybe you could in another organization that has six times as many people but 20 times as many meetings, 30 times less time during the day to yourself. So we try to avoid anything that breaks days into smaller and smaller chunks.

~ Jason Fried from, https://distributed.blog/2020/01/09/working-smaller-slower-and-smarter/

There’s a critical bit of culture however which must be in place it to work: People have to know their responsibilities and have to “pull” work towards themselves. Everyone has to know their own area and has to take responsibility. This is very different from the usual [that is, dysfunctional,] workspace where everyone shows up, and their boss—or worse, everyone—tells them what to do. In the team where people take responsibility and take work, everyone has to understand the mission. Everyone has to understand the vision of what they are trying to co-create. Everyone hast to empathize with their teammates.

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No smiles

We left feeling sorry for the whole thing. The people who worked at the theater weren’t trained to know how to deal with the problem. They probably weren’t empowered to do anything about it anyway. The technical staff apparently doesn’t work on the premises. The guy at the box office wanted to help, but wasn’t granted the power to do anything. And the manager, who was last in the line of misery, to have to manually, and slowly, process dozens of refunds on his own. No smiles entered the picture.

~ Jason Fried from, https://m.signalvnoise.com/i-went-to-see-a-movie-and-instead-i-saw-the-future/

This is a delightful anecdote which highlights a key element of what we are doing in the Movers Mindset project. We are trying to stay closely engaged with the people we are serving. In order to do that, we can’t use fractured communications mediums (like Instagram direct-messaging, Facebook messenger, and so on) — there’s simply no way I would be able to interact with a meaningful number of people if I had to check a dozen different communication mediums every day. Generally, this is referred to as the Network Effect; the value of the network increases dramatically (non-linearly that is) as the number of people in it increases. So my maintaining (I don’t do this, but if I did…) my participation in many different networks would be needed to reach people.

Instead, I have focused on creating a functioning space where people of like mind can gather and communicate. The challenge is not that the network needs to reach a certain size to be “useful.” No, already one person there can interact with another person and get the full value out of that interaction.

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How to communicate

You can not not communicate. Not discussing the elephant in the room is communicating. Few things are as important to study, practice, and perfect as clear communication.

~ Jason Fried from, https://basecamp.com/guides/how-we-communicate

This article explains how Basecamp—the organization itself—communicates. If you are a human being, who ever encounters other human beings, the initial list is a great primer on how to communicate. The whole article makes me feel warm and fuzzy. As if, somehow, the world would take a big step in the right direction if more people would read this one thing.

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Why, on balance, I don’t use Slack

Someone asked me if I knew where the Slack was for such-and-so project. I said I didn’t know, but that I knew one did exist. I felt compelled to explain that I walked away from Slack entirely, but I couldn’t explain why succinctly. Next time this happens I can just link here. :)


What’s wrong with real-time chat?

I believe attention is one of your most precious resources. If something else controls my attention, that something else controls what I’m capable of. I also believe your full attention is required to do great work. So when something like a pile of group chats, and the expectations that come along with them, systematically steals that resource from me, I consider it a potential enemy. “Right now” is a resource worth conserving, not wasting.

~ Jason Fried from, https://m.signalvnoise.com/is-group-chat-making-you-sweat/

Slack is a stream of real-time communication. I don’t work that way. Yes, one can tune and configure just how/when/how-much the Stream from Slack interrupts and notifies you. But I prefer zero unexpected interruptions.

Here are three articles against Slack:

Productivity is best achieved through focus and flow, and anything that takes you away from your focus goes against productivity. So, Slack — which is built as an internal, real-time, “always on,” multi-channel system with notifications — is distracting by design.

~ Dvir Ben-Aroya from, https://medium.com/swlh/why-slack-will-never-replace-email-873a20856716

…in your 20’s you work by brute force, in your 30’s you find ways to work more efficiently, in your 40’s you see the horizon and think on more of a magnitude scale.

~ Kiki Jewell from, https://medium.com/@kikiorgg/why-slack-sucks-for-older-people-and-young-people-have-something-to-learn-8866a25e9951

With Slack I can either be there, being pinged regularly with company wide updates, updates for a channel that was relevant three hours ago but not now, questions from other users they could otherwise figure out but decide are easier to ask me; or select Do Not Disturb mode.

~ Christopher Batts from, https://medium.com/@chrisjbatts/actually-slack-really-sucks-625802f1420a

…and to be fair, one talking about some situations where it might be useful:

At one extreme are interruptions where your attention is demanded on the spot. These sorts of interruptions include a phone call or someone walking into your office. At the other extreme are interruptions that occur only on your time, email for example. Ideally all communication would occur over email (and not just to limit interruptions), but we do not live in an ideal world.

Slack and other similar tools fill the space between someone standing in your office and email.

~ Michael Atwood from, https://medium.com/@mdatwood/slack-does-not-suck-ea166d8a2fb1

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Real-time chat

I believe attention is one of your most precious resources. If something else controls my attention, that something else controls what I’m capable of. I also believe your full attention is required to do great work. So when something like a pile of group chats, and the expectations that come along with them, systematically steals that resource from me, I consider it a potential enemy. “Right now” is a resource worth conserving, not wasting.

~ Jason Fried from, https://m.signalvnoise.com/is-group-chat-making-you-sweat-744659addf7d

Certainly there are situations where real-time chat is the right tool. But I think real-time chat is the rare case.

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