The biggest issue with this type of communication protocol is that it is

The effectiveness of your meetings will decrease rapidly effectiveness will rapidly decrease if you allow status meetings become ineffective if you allow the status meetings to

The time span gets longer and less focused. In the same way, Hicks and Foster write about their personal lives, they report that their


In the fall of 2007, the meetings were getting closer to 30 minutes in length.

Students spoke more with their advisors, in the course of the meeting, regarding

specific technical specific technical. In the course of longer meetings, there were also technical issues.

more technical information, but they did not create more groups

contributions or interest. On the other hand the more long meetings tend to be more prolonged.

was boring and monotonous We refocused ourselves to

Keep the meetings brief.

A majority of students they interviewed emphasized the importance of

duration of length of the. This is a concept that’s widely accepted within the Scrum

community. A short, organized check-in can be very empowering. When you are ready,

Let these gatherings turn into more casual, normal-style gatherings, and they

become a tedious burden.

This distinction is vital. In academia, for instance it’s a common practice

Professors can form groups to collaborate to complete projects, like an article co-authored by professors or departmental committees. A standard technique

to assist “move the project forward” is to set up a regularly scheduled

The meeting is usually once a week, for one hour. The goal is to

Make appointments on your calendar – a practice that is largely respected by the majority of people.

to boost productivity. If you’re compelled to meet every week , you need to spark productivity.

If you think about a project that this will encourage you to finish your work.

On a regular basis. They are not in any way the same that they are Scrumstyle regular status sessions. The latter is in essence an abandonment of

accountability–an admission of inorganization.

do something on your own, therefore you must attend meetings to push to accomplish something independently.

to feel like you are making progress, while the former allows you to

do more work by yourself. Meetings aren’t enough often and

vague. They consume too much time and frequently include people trying to

make promises disappear with conversative

diversion. Status meetings, on the other hand are frequent and structured

the questions they pose to participants How did you perform and what do you think of it?

What are you planning to do, and what’s going to stand in your way? They shouldn’t be mixed up.

If you collaborate in teams on common goals in your professional and you realize that

this activity is creating excessive distractions in messages or meetings that are a waste of time,

A properly executed procedure for status meetings can have a major impact

to increase your productivity. In the same way, as Hicks as well as Foster found, it’s quite surprising how

much overwhelming, attention-fracturing, back-and-forth interaction can be

Condensed into a regular schedule of check-ins that are very brief.

Chapter 7

The Specialization Principle

A Productivity Puzzle

In his broad-ranging book from 1996″Why Things Bite Back Technology and the

Retribution of Unintended Consequences the writer and scholar who is an independent researcher

Edward Tenner tackles a “productivity puzzle” that’s been proved to be effective in both

Important and frequently neglected: What caused the introduction of personal

computers at work do not make us as productive as we expected?

As Tenner notes, “the huge investment in computing during the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s was a huge investment in computing.

1990s” created office workers to feel “autonomous at their own control, more powerful,

and definitely and definitely.” The study was then compared with a second industrial

revolutionthat could alter work in a profoundly positive way

ways. “But toward the close in the 80s it became apparent that the belief increased that something was going on in

Wasn’t right,” in the beginning of 1990s, there were people “from inside the technocratic

culture”–economists, business professors, consultants–began to notice

that computer’s predicted gains weren’t fully materializing.1

This suspicion was created partly by the dismal data. Tenner cites

A study conducted by the economics professor Stephen Roach which found that between 1980 and the year 2000, Stephen Roach’s economic study found that

Between 1989 and 1989, investments in cutting-edge technology in the field of service between 1989 and 1990, the growth in investment in advanced technology in the service industry

More than 116 percent for each worker, whereas the productivity of the workers grew by less than

2.2 percent over the same time. He also refers to an economic study conducted by economists at

The Brookings Institution and the Federal Reserve which estimated the

“contribution of peripherals and computers to not more than 0.2 percent of

Real growth in output of businesses between 1987 between 1987 and 1993.”2

However, even without this information numerous people were making similar conclusions.

Conclusions about the failure of the promise of PCs that had been widely used

It was like it happened in a matter of minutes. The flaws were especially apparent the early stages of

jobs that were in existence prior to and after the advent of computers. My

My grandfather, just like me was a professor in a college. I am a college professor for the majority of the day there.

Engaging using a powerful computer portable featuring high-speed connectivity

internet connection wirelessly. My grandfather, however did not buy his

First computer from the time his retirement (I helped him to set it up) There was no

Evidence that he actually utilized the device. He would then transcribe his writings using

yellow legal pads that could later be typed out by an assistant. it wasn’t necessary for the

Internet for research and he stuffed his office with an enormous

personal library of the subjects the student studied. I have a list of small-scale things in my day-to-day life which my laptop has made easier. If we consider the

big picture measure that is important the most to scholars is research output.

Impact of research on the field — I can’t say that I’m more effective than him,

especially when you consider that he had written numerous books, and ended up with an

Endowed the chair of religious studies in Rice University before ending his

Career as provost of a large theological seminary.

Tenner provides a variety of explanations for the puzzle. However, only one of his theories is that he has a

One of the main arguments is that instead of reducing work computer systems end up

producing additional work. This extra work can be done directly. Computer systems

They are complex and evolve every couple of years, as the technology advances.

The technology becomes outdated. They also break many. The result is a lengthy time

the time to learn new techniques and methods and attempting to put them working. Around

when the chapter was being written for instance, my talking agent stopped talking to me.

I invite you to my office for to visit my office for. We were discussing efficiency issues at work,

He told me about the tale of the problems the agency was having to obtain a

Salesforce is a customer relationship management system. Salesforce. Salesforce works

to meet their specific specifications. After endless hours of fiddling it is time to make sure they are suited

Ended up hiring an additional expert who could just work on

The system. My agent was not so sure they really were gaining increase in productivity

bump when compared to the times that consisted of Rolodexes or business cards.

The more dangerous, however, are the indirect increases in labor personal

Computing has been the cause. The main issue is personal computers. Tenner

It isn’t that they make specific tasks more difficult, but rather that they can make them more difficult.

Just enough simple. To illustrate, he refers to an amazing 1992 paper,

Published in the Journal National Productivity Review by a Georgia Tech

economist named Peter G. Sassone.3

Between 1985 and 1991, Sassone

investigated twenty departments in five of the largest US corporations, focusing on five of them.

pay attention to the effects on the future of technology for office, like

personal computers.

As Sassone explains, professionals pay to complete highly specialized

The office was spending ever more time working on the administrative work.

“Intellectual non-specialization was the primary feature of the majority of

the organisations the study examines,” he writes. The root cause is obvious.

the imbalance, he explains the top-heavy personnel structure that is skewed in ratio

of highly skilled and experienced professionals to assist of highly skilled personnel to assist staff. For clarification of skilled professionals, he cites

“office automation” to “office automation,” noting that many businesses have paid for expensive computers

Systems by reducing support personnel who performed the tasks

computers can in the near future “simplify.”

As Sassone claims, this trade-off isn’t always balanced. If you take out

Support staff, the highly professional staff become less knowledgeable.

They are specialized because they need to focus more on administrative tasks that

computers that are easy enough for them to operate independently. As a

As a result, it requires more of these experts to achieve the same

quantity of output that is valuable to the market, since they are less prone to mental cycles

It is completely free to carry out this work. The professionals are able to perform this work because they have the expertise.

Higher salaries than staff supporting them, and replacing the staff with a greater proportion of the

The latter can be costly. Sassone analyzes the numbers and suggests that the

The companies he examined could reduce the cost of staffing by 15 percent.

percent through employing more support staff by allowing their employees to develop into

more productive. to Sassone this study offers a convincing solution to

the slowing productivity of the first personal computer age. “Indeed, in

in many cases, companies have employed technology to cut costs instead of to increase,

Increase, specialization of the mind,” the author writes.

Over the years in the intervening decades, non-specialization issues were reported by

Sassone have been getting more dangerous. Highly trained experts with a high-quality education.

abilities, and the capability to create high-quality output using their brains, invest

A large portion of their time is spent arguing with computers they spend a lot of time wrangling with computer systems, scheduling meetings,

Filling out forms, fighting word processors, battling with

PowerPoint and, obviously, most importantly it is sending and receiving digital

messages from all over the world about every aspect at all time. We’re sure we’ve

Modern technology, as we don’t need the services of typing pools or secretaries advanced because we no longer require typing pools or secretaries, but we

Don’t take into account the extent to which bottom-line-boosting activities we actually do

accomplish. I was extremely frustrated by my lack of expertise in my

my own academic world that in the year 2019 I published my own piece to The Chronicle of

Higher Education’s magazine, which detailed the numerous ways that

the potential output of professors’ intellectual capacity has drastically decreased because of

In large part, this is due to the an increase in demands facilitated by technological advancements. My

The piece’s editor chose an intriguing name: “Is Email Making Professors


It was among the most popular stories of the year.

Tenner mentions that textbooks on economics were used to introduce the concept of

efficient labor markets through telling the tale of the top lawyer in town.

Additionally, he happens to be also the most proficient is also the most proficient typist. This is the obvious conclusion of the text

The idea is that the lawyer is stupid to not employ the services of a typer. If the lawyer

costs $500 per hour, and the cost of a typer is $50 per hour. The lawyer will

It is evident that you will benefit from outsourcing her typing work so that she can have more time with her family.

on the legal aspects of on legal. The advent of computers in work, so it appears,

The media has obscured this previously obvious fact. We’ve all been the lawyers who spends

long hours spent working at the typewriter for hours.

In this version of the recent workplace history, the advent of computers

technological advancements led to a decrease of knowledge-based specialization. As

The data above confirms the fact that this shift may have led to important economic

implications for this industry. We are concerned about this but, it is because there are has

is a major influence on the way we move past the hyperactive beehive

mindwork. The huge variety and amount of tasks within a general

The work environment makes the work environment a hive mind that is unavoidable. When

You’re confronted with an overwhelming flow of seemingly unrelated tasks,

aren’t able to make enough room in your work schedule to design a more efficient alternatives

workflows – there’s simply too much adversity for each time to be able to control

Everything that is optimized. This means, for instance in defense

against an assault of unpredictable obligations, ad-hoc, insecure

SMS soon becomes the only sensible alternative to avoid yourself

to avoid drowning.

This leads to a negative and productivity-depleting circularity. When

When you’re stressed, you’re obliged to rely on the flexible nature of the hive

mind. This process is, however, a cause for further dispersion of your

focus, which makes you less efficient at getting tasks accomplished. This results in:

The overload continues to increase! The more this cycle continues it will eventually result in a

In a state of desperation and overwhelm in which the notion is

Somehow, a way to engineer better workflows isn’t possible.

If we wish to manage the hyperactive hive brain, it is necessary to first

to halt the trend towards non-specialization. Through reducing the number of

the various obligations you’re expected to meet, you’ll get the ability to breathe

room to improve the workflows you use to manage the tasks that you need to handle.

is to create a two-fer of productivity increases that could

entirely transform your performance or the effectiveness of your company. This

The chapter encourages you to adopt the following principles as an essential step towards

getting away from the hive mind

The Specialization Principle

In the sector of knowledge there are fewer projects to work on and doing everything using more

Quality and accountability can provide the basis for substantially higher productivity.

The idea that less could be a way to increase the amount could be a bit uncomfortable

initially, particularly initially, especially in the context of an environment that is competitive. There are some who may

The fear is that they could be penalized if they cut back on the commitments they take on or delay their tasks, they could be penalized

who aren’t in their field which isn’t their area of expertise, they’ll look an insignificant member of the team or

Perhaps even lose their jobs. But , as Greg McKeown argues in his 2014

Bestseller, Essentialism, the opposite scenario could be more plausible. Essentialism is his bestseller.

the tale of an executive who is known as Sam and who in his attempt to be a “good

citizen” within”Italian citizen” in Silicon Valley company where he worked, and said”yes” to

all of it, which can lead to the development of a serious overloaded condition that can lead to a severe. Eventually, the

the company gave him an early retirement benefit. Sam considered

Accepting the deal and opening his own consulting business accepting the package, but not on the other hand, he is not

A mentor’s advice He decided to take on a new job, if the fact that he

Would stop saying “yes” to everything and instead choose only the work is in his best interest.

The thought was that this was crucial. He believed that he didn’t have anything to lose and if this made him unhappy,

the employer, he was able to take the retirement plan and

Moving forward.

As McKeown remembers, Sam stopped volunteering for an emergency

presentation and also ended his practice of being the first to respond to emails

threads. He stopped participating in conferences that weren’t pertinent and

He realized that simply because someone gave an invitation to a gathering, it didn’t mean that they were invited.

It meant he needed to have to accept. He also said that he would not repeat it as often. If he didn’t

I believe that he was able to accomplish something or even if it wasn’t an absolute priority did not

I’ll just say this in plain English and then decline. Sam was worried that it was all an oversimplified mess.

“self-indulgent,” but his worries were based on a false notion. Nobody was mad at his behavior;

They instead were impressed by his clarity. His work was of high quality. was improved to the point that

moment when his managers gave him the largest bonus of his career.


Sam’s tale highlights a fact we tend to forget: there’s a handful of things

is more important than someone who regularly creates valuable output

There are few ways to be more satisfying than receiving the opportunity to work in a space

Concentrate on things that really have a bearing on the issues that really. The strategies discussed in this chapter

can help individuals as well as organisations shift towards the kind of

the specialization that is appreciated by Sam an area where you are working on lesser, but you can

This will work better. an environment where it’s possible to get past the

hyperactive hive mind to adopt slow and less effective methods of

managing work.

Case Study: Working at the Extremes

In the spring of the year 2019 I recorded my interview on The Rich Roll Podcast.

In the course of the program we discussed some of the ideas that were explored in this episode.

book. I also mentioned the agile practices that are common among software

Developers are a great illustration of an alternative that is more thoughtful than

The hyperactive hive brain working. After a couple of months, just after the

When the episode premiered when it was released, I received an old-fashioned postage stamp,

I received it in Georgetown University. It came from a longtime

Silicon Valley programmer and executive identified as Greg Woodward. He

said that he’d seen the interview I did with Roll and was

Particularly keen to hear about our discussions of agile methodologies. As he

described, and if truly was interested in understanding the possibilities of optimization

workflows, I had to find out more about the software startup where he was

The current position is CTO. They have adopted a methodology that “takes all agile practices

practices and increases them to the level of a 10.” The practice was dubbed appropriately,

extreme programming — and it shocked me to the core.

Woodward started writing codes and managed development teams in

Silicon Valley in the mid-1990s after completing the middle of 1990s, following his PhD in mechanical

Engineering at Stanford. His dissertation utilized an efficient method of

algorithm for running physics simulations that are relevant in NASA space shuttles. NASA space shuttle

program. He recalls his first decade working in the field of software development.

an era of waterfalls that swung in a tidal wave and the novel thick feature

specifications, described as “frustrating.” In 2005 seeking an easier way to write

In the code, he was able to get a job at Pivotal Labs, a company which had

earned it a name in the eyes of Silicon Valley insiders for its bizarre but

a wildly efficient method of the process of developing software. They described it as an

extreme programming extreme programming XP in short. As Woodward told me, this is

The process is constantly improved. “XP has taken over all of the software

best practices in development” he explained, “honed them extensively, and the following year, we honed them further.

It was time to throw away anything that wasn’t working.” Woodward became a faith-based person. After

Working with Pivotal for a number of years, he introduced the XP technique to Pivotal.

He’s been with every company that he’s assisted with management from the beginning.

Here are a few (but certainly not the entire list) of the basic concepts that lie behind XP. Programmers

involved in a major project are split into smaller groups.

teams, which typically comprise less than ten players. In an age of

Remote work is becoming more frequent, XP development teams work within the

identical physical room, in which the importance of face-to-face communications is placed on

Digital alternatives. “We rarely check email throughout the day,” Woodward

I asked him about the team of developers he manages.

“Sometimes my developers will literally go days without checking emails.”

If you are in need of assistance from someone else on your team, must wait until they

It appears as if they’re in a natural stop point , then cross the street and inquire.

them. Woodward says these conversations are “one 100 times greater

Effective more efficient than more efficient than.”

One of the complaints I’ve heard from a variety of programmers is the fact that

They are often irritated electronically by those who aren’t part of their organization, like

employees of the department of marketing or customers, resulting in constant

interruptions that divert them from their main task of making amazing

software. I requested Woodward what he did to ensure that XP dealt with these issues. “The

Project manager is the link between other members of the organization and

clients,” he explained. “[These non-customers] are trained to guide their

Bug reports, feature requests or bug reports an administrator for the project. . . .

Development team members are protected.” Project managers assigns any task

These interactions are compiled into an orderly queue. The team is working on

tasks in the queue one by one taking each task in turn, and then deciding once the task is completed

the next thing they need to tackle.

One of the most extreme aspects in XP is its dedication to what’s

referred to as known as pair programming. XP developers operate in groups consisting of two persons.

share a computer. “Unenlightened managers will think you’d be able to

50% of productivity when there are two developers working at the same time

It’s all happening at the same time on the thing on the same computer,” Woodward explained. “In reality, you can receive

Three to Four times more productivity.” In his presentation the key element in

Programming is not the action of typing mechanically into the

computer, instead of constructing the solution itself, which is later transformed

into code. If you are working together you are able to make each

Other’s ideas, identifying flaws, as well as coming up with different perspectives that could

perform more efficiently.

To illustrate this idea, Woodward gave me a recent example

The incident occurred a few weeks prior to our conversation. The conversation took place a couple of weeks prior to the date.

He explained that he had the idea of a feature of software that could provide the user with a “big

performance increase.” The man was considering the idea on the way to

His San Francisco office. “By when I arrived at work, I was convinced that I was in the right place.”

The strategy to implement the feature is almost all the way figured out.”

Woodward met with his his programming partner for the day and

He began to explain his idea. They debated it for 45 minutes. During

during the discussion, his friend “poked a few holes” in the strategy , and

It has identified some “edge cases” where it may not be as effective as Woodward

hoped. His companion was then able to think about the ways they could

Remove one type of message off the database, thereby avoiding certain types of

the most difficult of these issues. In the afternoon they had the updated and upgraded system.

in operation. As Woodward said, “I feel sure that I could have had it all

It was a long time since I’d gotten the idea I had in mind on the car, and the finalization would

I have had to wait days for the results and I’m now at an average of three to four times productivity

boost.” Reflection the extent to which efficient programmers are currently working

In pairs, he resorted to superlatives “It’s amazingly powerful.”

Another reason for the efficiency of this XP method is the intensity. When

when you’re working alongside a colleague You’re locked into your job. There’s no

clever way to distract your attention to check emails or surf the internet.

Doing this would result in your partner sitting there, irritated in anticipation of

Pay attention to return.6

In addition, you’re exposed to a work atmosphere where you’re

Expected to give all-out attention to the issue in hand, and to complete the task at hand.

A manager who shields your attention from distractions, you are able to spend the majority of your time in the company.

Every day, I am able to accomplish difficult tasks. XP is being a true deep work

the most pristine environment I’ve ever successfully deployed.

With this level of intensity, a fundamental tenet of the XP philosophy is “sustainable pace.”

The majority of those who use this method adhere to the traditional forty-hour

working hours, in opposition to workweeks that are in opposition to Silicon Valley norm of seventy to eighty

hours. “With XP, we want you to join us and work long hours for eight hours

After that, you can return home to consider other ideas,” Woodward explained. This is

It is not a gesture of generosity not a gesture of generosity, but rather an acknowledgment of the limitations of humankind.

mind. “The average engineer in an unXP-like company will only accomplish two things in his

3 hours of actual working every day. The remainder of the day is spent on the internet.

internet and checking your email.” If you’re actually working, don’t send

messages regarding work, and not attending work meetings for eight hours in the evening.

single day can be quite demanding. If an engineer is a part of on an XP team,

Woodward explained that it’s normal for people feeling “zapped.” The intensity

Of concentrating for eight hours is exhausting, as can the number of XP

Newcomers in their first week of life go straight to bed as soon as they get home from

work. Certain engineers are not able to adapt to this focus culture or, even more

in a hurry, to the point of accountability it encourages (there’s no room for slacking).

off, or concealing from the world (or hiding off, or hiding a lack of ability XP workplace). They quickly flee to find more

traditional software firms and where they are able to conceal the flaws behind

Bluster, or simply high-profile bustle as an alternative to actually

working hard, but rewarding work of producing valuable output using their


The essence of the principle of specialization is the notion that less is more. If

you create workflows that permit experts to make the most of their time

the time to concentrate to the task that they’ve been trained for,

you’ll get a lot more value than if instead need these same

employees to spread their focus across a variety of tasks. This

This is typically the best option at these circumstances, however, not often.

is the most effective long-term. Extreme programming underscores

The possibility of reversing this current system and focusing on the possibility of pursuing specializedization.

I can imagine the XP development teams could be difficult to manage in the

In the context of larger companies which employ them, however it’s hard to focus on

It is a bit of a hassle to see the incredible speed that they

produce amazing results. “An XP team of eight to ten people can complete the work of

A non-aggressive team of forty between fifty and forty,” Woodward told me. “I’ve witnessed it before and over.

over and over.” This is the benefits to productivity that are at stake in any one of

Knowledge work fields are currently being impacted by a dramatic decrease of

specialization. The rest of this chapter focuses on ways to reap the benefits of

the advantages of an XP style specialization.

Do Less, Do Better

In a piece from 2010, Anne Lamott reflected on one particular piece of advice that was given to her.

Her writing is not as smooth as her students.7

She informs them that artistic pursuits aren’t always easy.

very rewarding, but then her next post brings the negative deeply rewarding, but she also brings up the negative “You must make

the time to accomplish this.” She explains the process, it requires writers to take the

are aware of the harm that is caused by their “manic types of connectivity” – cell

text, phone, email tweet, email, phone.” Then she provides other apparent crucial

Activities that students may need to cut down on: gym trips, housecleaning

consume news, if they really would like to make something significant. This

The advice may sound simple it sounds simple, however Lamott notifies her students that she has a tendency to make them feel like they are n

People often find it difficult. People lead hectic lives and often have the notion of taking a step back

the idea of busyness is being a move backwards. “I am aware of how addictive it is to be busy.

[is]” She writes however”this “whirlwind” isn’t in sync with the production of

achievements that give lasting value and satisfaction.

In a field that is not as crowded, like professional writing, there is a need to be aware of the importance of taking the time to do

less minor issues so that you can focus on the most important things better. This will make lots of

sense. We would like to imagine our authors huddled in sheds, slaving away in

uninterrupted concentration, unaffected by all distractions in the world. But we

It is also possible to assume that this type of lifestyle isn’t applicable to less romanticized

The establishment of standard office procedures. The principle of specialization supports that it

should. It’s true that many job positions in the field of knowledge lack the

independence and clarity of intent that are found in writing, the same fundamental dynamic

that pushes authors towards the less limiting set of obligations can be applied to

Any cognitive activity where you can create value through the use of your mind. In

the realm of computer programming XP achieved this minimalization by introducing

strict set of rules that were enforced by the management which had been polished

years of experience. We will look at a couple of methods to improve

the way to achieve this goal is made in fields of knowledge work where the structures

don’t yet exist.

Work Reduction Strategy #1: Outsource What You Don’t Do Well

As I was beginning the process of researching the novel, I was notified via an email.

from an businessman I’ll call Scott from an entrepreneur I’ll call Scott earlier had launched an organization called

successful home decor company. The company is a successful home decor business. Scott explained, the company was successful within a short time of having launched the

The company was a mess, and he began being overwhelmed for a long time. “I did all the

Things that most people do with companies that are just starting out,” he told me. “I was a bit of a numbskull of

employees, and reached out to many individuals for marketing and networking.

was very active on Instagram.” His Instagram was very active. understood his strength was in the art of designing elegant

and revolutionary furniture, but and innovative furniture, he was “spending his days with his family

constant communication.”

Perhaps after a few phone calls with him

Consultants on Instagram, Scott decided he was tired of being a slave to his own busyness. “I

I was not doing what I had planned to was no longer doing what I set out to.” In the aftermath, he looked for ways to

dramatically reduce his day-to day tasks. The first step was to

Sign an exclusive wholesale contract with a single national retailer chain.

Not only did this greatly simplify distribution, but it also eliminated his company’s

have to handle sales, marketing, as well as customer service. Then he came across the need to handle sales, marketing, and customer service.

A small amount of manufacturing partners that have enough workforces to

They can easily manage their normal routine.

Scott has been described as “crystal clear and up-front” with his partners on what he believes in.

desires, and then allows them to take their own choices in order to maintain

The company is moves. “I don’t want to be a linchpin,” he says. To

to emphasize the significance of the delegation, he shared with me about to emphasize the importance of this delegation, he told me about

the meeting, where the president was among the 10 participants. The purpose was to confirm that a

A new black glaze is now available for their products. “It was infuriating,” the customer said.

said. “Trust only one person to make the decision and stop cc’ing everyone

email, and go back to work!”

Scott states that he receives “only a few” emails every day. He dedicates

his newly reclaimed mental capacity to the areas that he believes that he has the capacity to bring

that have the greatest valuable: “New design projects, major strategic decisions,

innovative solutions to aging design issues.” Through outsourcing this much

the business of Scott to retailers and manufacturing partners. Scott decreased the profits

The margin he estimates. If he could run everything internally, he could be able to

Pay attention, improve efficiency, and make more of the profits. He’s

Additionally, the brand has surrendered certain control. He has no longer appoints the individual curators of the brand’s

photo, just like he did during his time of unrelenting Instagram interaction, now he is still using the same

to deal with the physical limitations of his to work with the limitations of his manufacturing and manufacturing. But

Scott does not care. By focusing his efforts on his niche—

developing great products and making important strategic choices that are big picture–the

long-term financial viability of his company is significantly higher than that of

the other alternative scenario where all this thinking is done in tiny slivers of

time between endless meetings about glazing decisions.

Scott’s story provides an effective method to become more

You are a specialist in your field Try to outsource the work-intensive tasks

that you aren’t doing poorly. The main obstacle you must overcome when applying this

This strategy will mean that you’ll have to pay for it in the short-term prior to reaping the rewards.

long-term benefits. Scott was one example. Scott had to forfeit profits margins and

Some control over his business, allowing him to form a company that is hugely

More successful with time.


In many instances the cost you pay for outsourcing is directly derived from

In your pocket. In 2016, the podcaster and businessman Pat Flynn reached a

tipping point in the email inbox. He recalled when the time he would

Adopt the concept of inbox zero, the goal is to reduce your email inbox

and empty again at the at the end of every day. Somewhere, as there are demands to

his interaction with his listeners and partners increased, Inbox 100 was his latest

goal. He then noticed the number of messages he had not read had risen to nearly

Nine thousand. He had been trying to manage an enterprise, but instead turned into a

Professional email manager for professional email.

The solution was to employ an executive assistant who was full-time. As Flynn details

In a segment of a podcast called “9000 Unread Emails to Inbox Zero,” it was his time to complete the task.

and his assistant for several weeks to devise an approach to help her succeed

Control his inbox.8

They created an official rule book that permitted her to manage

nearly every message is herself, conveying Flynn’s attention only the things that are important to her.

needed his needed his. In the end, Flynn was removed from the notion that was a problem if

If he didn’t check his email, but he was aware that certain aspects of his work might

suffer. The cost of hiring an executive assistant is costly. But Flynn had

We arrive at the same conclusion to Scott did: If he was not in a position to invest a substantial amount of money, Scott would have

time spent on the specific tasks on which his business was based, and then what

Was the purpose of managing this company?

If you own your own business, or are a freelancer when you start this approach, you will be able to succeed.

when unaskilled tasks slow your development, and you’ll begin to be aware

many opportunities to cut down on non-essential efforts. There are many other ways to reduce non-vital efforts.

The most common request is to hire bookkeepers to handle the accounts and invoices.

Utilizing a virtual assistant, you can arrange travel and meetings with an online designer

On retainer to ensure that your website operations running smoothly by utilizing social media

experts to manage your online branding needs, or calling experts to handle your branding.

Customer service agents, empowered to make decisions without

your comments. Your input is important to the productivity author Laura Vanderkam argues that we must

In general, you should be more proactive in identifying the tasks that can be transferred.

“For instance it’s not sensible for teachers who are licensed and experienced to be

The majority of worksheets are graded,” she writes. “Automating the process (via the use of technology) or

or employing graders to report the results , which would free teachers to

create better lessons to share and then share the best practices.”9

The moment you start to look

If you are looking for ways to delegate non-essential tasks, you’ll be amazed by the extent to which

Many you can are able to.

Each of these outsourcing services costs the company money and can of them take the money from

the loop of issues you are used to following the loop on issues, however they all contain the

possibility to allow you to have more time to focus with the few things

that can actually help you move you forward in your work setting. This is a strategy

Not suitable for all. But if you’re lucky enough to have the option of deciding your own schedule for your work

Life, and then recognize that you don’t need to endure stress. Transfer what you can to someone else.

you’re able to, so that you be the best at what you don’t.

Work Reduction Strategy #2: Trade Accountability for Autonomy

The strategy we described is ideal to people who have their own

managers, what happens to the people who are suffering from constant stress within large

organizations? I came across an interesting way to solve this scenario that is common to all

From a reader I’ll refer to as Amanda from the reader Amanda working for an international

engineering design firm since 2009. The company has been in operation since 2009. Amanda stated in her interview, she has been with the engineering design firm since 2009.

I contacted me. During the initial six years at her job she sat with her head down

and worked hard to earn the respect of her bosses by creating the highest quality work that she could.

It wasn’t an easy task given the culture of constant stress within her office.

As Amanda clarified she could see two types of work she could do.

firm. The first one she describes as “reactive, easy, brain-dead work.” She describes it as “reactive, easy, brain dead work.”

The explanation goes like this: “This is where you appear, look at your emails, then do whatever you’re told to do by emails.

I will tell you to go on throughout the day, return to bed.” Second one she refers to as

“intentional, difficult, focused, creative work,” which is the time you “spend

spend time thinking about the most significant in the long-term and long-term.

for you to work on the big projects you have planned for.” At the workplace where she works, she will do the first

type dominates. There’s a expectation that you will keep track of your email inbox

–“We make use of email often lot”–and when you’re a slave to the incessant

An influx of assignments and needs, but you can’t get it all done. the other

Second category.

There is a way to get through this chaos of brain chatter, hive-mind chatter, and continuous overload

Amanda was able to create an important niche within the

company. The engineering industry as a whole was undergoing a transition from

2D 3D models of information and Amanda helped her company by assisting them with

the transition from fielding questions to assisting the individual projects. During

This time, she was reading my book from 2012 So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

It is among other things after you’ve made yourself useful to

Your company, you must make use of this career capital to leverage your organization to redesign

Your position can be transformed into your position into something more fulfilling. Inspiring, but worried,

Amanda suggested to her bosses that she move into a more strategic job,

instead of addressing random questions, they assist individuals

initiatives, and she’d be working on a technology strategy for entire regions. She would also work on technology strategy for whole. In these

The job would work from a distance, on a few longer-term

One project at a moment.

Amanda was adamant that her boss would reject her request. She was

Prepared to quit the company to provide a similar service as consultant. To

to her surprise, they decided to offer the new arrangement a test. “Since I’m

remote, I no longer count on “showing up’ as an indication of

my contribution to the business,” Amanda explained. “It’s everything I do. So I

switch off emails, I turn my phone in airplane mode, and then I send my coworkers

Emergency contacts and after that I concentrate.” She abandoned brain-dead work behind and

she was fully committed in the direction of the other.

There’s both danger and opportunity in Amanda’s plan. The

The opportunity is her smaller portfolio and

Evaluations that are based on results give her the capability to separate herself from

Hyperactive hive mind work. “Since I do not have any control over my

my day-to-day routine,” she said, “I have plenty of freedom to record the most concise

direction to where I believe I’m required to be in order in order to provide the best benefit.” This is why I am able to adjust my

It is possible for her to substantially increase the value for her business, which is, in

The cycle of virtue can help gain the freedom to be more independent.

The problem, naturally the risk is that she is required to write. The note she made concerning

the ease that comes from “showing up” to demonstrate worth is more than an occasional

rejection of the normal workplace culture. For many , this approach can be the opportunity to make

Professional security net for professionals. Busyness can be controlled: If you decide to make yourself visible

If you are busy, you can be sure with confidence that you will achieve this objective. Producing

High-value results that are under scrutiny, such as Amanda is currently committed to do,

much more demanding! Making the decision to create useful things is not enough.

enough to be sure that you’ll enough to guarantee that you’ll be able to pull enough to guarantee that you’ll be able to pull it enough to guarantee that you’ll be able to pull it off. Remember the details of our XP example, in which

Greg Woodward noted that a number of developers don’t like the extreme

environments and leave within a couple of weeks. Most people aren’t aware of this

What is it that irritates them? The lack of transparency. You’re either producing good code, or

It’s obvious that you’re not. Many people aren’t at ease with this blunt approach.

review of what they’re actually doing.

Amanda’s strategy for general offering accountability in order to gain autonomy

Therefore, it’s a great method of avoiding overloaded It’s also

risky. If you’re a part of an enormous organization that has a continuous overload is commonplace, it could be

is yours and you’ve built an understanding that clearly makes your

This strategy is valuable, and could be among the best ways to get the

breathing room required to remake your process into something better

effective. You don’t have to be as bold as Amanda in order to be

Applying this method. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of helping out with a big

Initiative gives you enough protection to ignore the messages and turn off

invitations to meetings without irritating people. You now are unstoppable

The excuse is: “I would, but am swamped trying to handle [big thing].” It’s

It is hard to ignore the basic economics: to make something worth gaining, like

independence means you must provide something that is unambiguously valuable

return. In the sense of being accountable for the results you create

If you’d like the flexibility to change how you conduct yourself.

There are numerous methods to deal with the overflow that is caused by the diminished

specialization. Strategies discussed here go straight to the core of the value

the concept that knowledge works. There are not all efforts that produce the same value

the organization. If you focus more in high-value activities within your organization, you are putting more value into

the cost of focusing your time less doing low-value things the results you’ll get

greater value in the in the overall picture. in the short run it is true that there are additional costs, for instance,

in the form of upfront costs, in the form of an inconvenience to your colleagues or, in the case of

Amanda’s story, for example, has reduced the security of her job. However, the issue is that Anne Lamott emphasizes to

Her Writing students: It’s nearly all the time worthwhile. The benefits of becoming

considerably more efficient in those things that really matter will overwhelm the

The difficulty of overcoming minor difficulties this specialization creates. Less

There is more to it; the key is to build up the courage to believe within your

personal life outside of work.

Sprint, Don’t Wander

One of the main ideas that emerged from our case study of extreme programming was the

it is crucial to work on only the same goal at a time, uninterrupted,

until it’s finished. The commitment to work in sprints is widely accepted

that are found across the world of software development and even within teams that aren’t

Follow the full list of the rigorous XP rules. The origins of sprinting is traceable

all the way back to the time of Scrum as one of the first agile methods for

software development back in the 90s. In an Scrum sprint, teams

is focused on one specific deliverable, like creating the creation of a new

Software products have a feature that isn’t complicated task lists, or schedules that are brimming with

meetings or complex routine planning processes meetings, or complex daily planning processes needed.10


The productivity hack has now become an widely accepted standard in this field. It’s

Now, it is widely believed that it’s not appropriate to smack an individual

The development team is at the heart of the sprint, with invites to the calendar for

gatherings, or to nag the participants by email to aid on non-related projects. In

for the vast majority of businesses that make software are normal the developers of software to have a

inactive during a sprint in the sense that the culture acknowledges that this is

is the most effective use of their energy right now.

Software development, obviously is a very particular task. The

The question is the question of whether this particular idea — working in short bursts–is a viable option.

Objective–can be applied to the world of programming to be an overall

technique to accomplish more specific method of achieving more specialized work. It is good for us to know that,

an associate at an investment fund that is focused on technology has worked for the last decade at a tech-focused investment fund.

The study of this issue is a must.

– The year 2009 was the first time Google created a fund for venture capital to put some of its profits

into promising startups in the field of technology. It was dubbed Google Ventures. In 2015,

the fund was spun out as a separate entity which is now known as GV which is a combination of

Alphabet, Google’s main parent firm. Alphabet remains its sole limited partner

(source of income). This relationship with GV and Google creates a strong connection

it is inevitable that the culture of software at the Google giant inevitable that software culture ideas from the search giant would be incorporated into

They are integrated into the institution’s culture. One of the ideas to follow this particular path was

the benefits the value sprints.11

A GV partner , Jake Knapp was knowledgeable about software sprints.

development. In his previous job at Google He’d assisted teams to implement

This strategy is designed to boost the effectiveness of their business. Then, Knapp changed to

GV, he began to experiment on ways to apply this technique to different kinds of

business issues. He created an updated version of the

The strategy he described as strategy that he called “design sprint.” The purpose for the design sprint would be to

assist companies in addressing crucial questions by requiring executives to answer

to devote to five days (nearly) unbroken concentration

the issue at hand. In 2016, I’ve implemented these sprints, we had more than one

hundreds in their portfolio of companies Knapp and co GV partners John

Zeratsky as well as Braden Kowitz introduced the design sprint method to

more people with their larger audience with their Sprint the Way to tackle Big Issues and the Test

New Ideas in Just Five Days.12

Design sprints are designed to help you determine the areas where your team is

The company should concentrate its efforts. In a traditional workplace they are the areas where an

Decisions are usually made over months of discussions and meetings and are often augmented

with a myriad of email threads, eventually leading to expensive investments through

New strategies or products that often fail. A design sprint

An attempt to simplify this work to make it easier for readers, starting with the discussions all the way to

getting market feedback on the results of the choices, into one of the most

efficient workweek. The first day, you find the cause of the problem you’re

you are trying to solve. The second day, you sketch different solutions. On

The third day is when you have to make a tough choice on the best solution for you.

to consider, then transform it into a hypothesis which is to test. On the

On the fourth day, you put together a rough model that lets you try the

Hypothesis, and then on the fifth day, you place real customers in front of the

Test their prototypes and gain feedback. The sprints were used to

Test new products They’ve additionally been employed to test out new advertising

strategies, or even to figure out whether there’s a market for the

given idea.

The design sprint promotes specialists, since practitioners are asked to specialize.

to focus for five days on a single issue. Curious

in the extent that this concentration is actually achieved, about the extent to which this focus is actually achieved,

Contacted Jake Knapp and asked him an inquiry that I believed was close deep

of the issue: “Are people still checking email during design sprints?” The designer

explained that the rule of thumb for sprints is “no laptops or phones

No tablets, no tablets.” Only one thing that is different is the usage of computers on

fourth day, if necessary fourth day, to build an initial fourth day, should it be needed, to build a prototype. Fourth day, if needed, to construct a prototype. Knapp manages a team

in during a sprint, he informs the employees to set up out-of-office autoresponders to ensure they

will not be overwhelmed due to their lack of connectivity. (He refers to them as

autoresponders are a “pressure release valve” for people who are worried about

Away from the constant noise that is the hyper-active mind.)

Participants are permitted to use devices both before and after the race

sessions, which run sessions, which run from sessions that run from a.m. until sessions, which last from 10:00 a.m. to p.m. You can also monitor

equipment during breaks however they should do it outside the area in which they are

Sessions take place. Knapp said to me that he was imagining that there is a more radical approach in

where communication that isn’t within the team is strictly forbidden all through the

this week, may “yield even deeper focus and better results.” However, the man thought that it

It could be an “hard sell” to persuade an entire group of contemporary information workers to

You can sign up for five consecutive days of total disconnect. After a beat, however, he

They also noted that after they “experienced the benefits” of this disconnect, they “experienced the benefits” of

idea might start seeming less extreme.

Jake Knapp’s design-sprint process is ideal for high-risk decisions.

the future direction of your business, however there are many more

areas of knowledge work where sprints can be effective. I spoke to

an expert in communication such as a communication consultant said to me that when she was at her company

was contracted to handle major events as the partner responsible of the event

It is common to schedule a workshop in the office which could last several days, and in

where the team would enclose itself to play the best possible match

The event’s plan. It is possible to imagine similar sprints being used by

research teams from universities working to advance an enormous open issue.

In Deep Work, I discuss the ways Wharton Professor Adam Grant used

precisely this method to be one of the newest professors to be able to

The Wharton administration’s tenure in its history.

Many knowledge workers are caught up in obligations and

commitments and traditional ways of doing things that’s usually

there is no simple way to decrease this burden in one decisive move. Sprint methods offer

indirect alternative. If you create the culture of design sprints in the style of

sessions, you do not remove the other work for the moment however, you will eliminate the other work in the short term.

restrict its impact – allowing users to change between

Specialized existence and hyperactive one (which is more beneficial than never).

In the state of the latter).

Regular sprints also allow for long-term adjustments to your work schedule through

making it much easier for individuals professionals to get involved in lobbying to get less

duties in general. In a typical hyperactive hive mind-based office, you’ll be asking

The desire to work less could be perceived as lazy (why do you have to work more?). In

A culture in which sprints are not uncommon, however you can also point out the huge

The value these pushes focused on creating and frame the minute details of the value they are generating.

The definition of chronic overload is that it hinders to this level. Once you can

create a clear distinction between the convenience of busyness and the bottom-line boosting sprints, it becomes more difficult to justify the latter as more significant.

Any sprint process to be successful, it requires the support of everyone

involved. If you’re running it is essential to believe that you’ll be able to move forward.

get rid of your inbox and your chat channels, and accomplish this without creating

irritation or displeasure. If you’re self-employed or self-employed, you should clearly state your reasons for

Inform your clients to your clients that the work you do is fundamentally multimodal and in the

If you are in sprint mode, you will not be accessible. If you are employed by an enterprise that is larger than you,

The enthusiasm for sprinting must come from the highest levels. Once this is established,

When specialization is acknowledged and its advantages will soon be evident. As Jake

Knapp explained to methat one of the greatest aspects of helping teams to run

The excitement that sprints creates in the participants. Chronic

overload makes us miserable. If we’re allowed to escape it

difficult traps and instead, take the steps we were trained to do: apply our

expertise to get the best possible outcomes, work is transformed from a task to a challenge

into something that we actually like.

Budget Attention

As I mentioned I was a contributor in 2019 to my article on The Chronicle

Review of the article “Is Email Making Professors Stupid?” The article explored

more than more than. I looked into the numerous ways that the

unplanned workflows typical in academia afflict the professors of

their capacity to be productive. One of the subjects I dealt with was the subject of service. At

at the majority of universities, professors devote certain portions of their time tasks that

Help the school function to function better, such as reviewing application or taking part in

committees, or taking part in self-government. These obligations are

vital to the academic experience. However, the problem is that there aren’t many

is the way the tasks are assigned. “A common approach to service is

to accept an endless stream of requests.” I wroteto you “until you become

too committed that you withdraw in a desperate attempt to catch up.”

In an essay I wrote as a response to my Chronicle article, I discuss a philosophical

Professor Bruce Janz elaborated on the issue of the an overwhelming

Service obligations in higher education, in writing:

It’s a result of the mindsets of the majority of those officials who

Think that their new process is the most efficient thing that has ever happened to them.

Never ever, and will need a small form or input from

faculty, or other thing. It’s caused by . . . Other

committees are formed to coach or assist in strategizing or help or

brainstorming or any of other tasks, each of which will require

A little bit more the same group of people. It isn’t from any of

the administrative committees that are observing any reason to join

or rationalize any thing, but it is necessary to be repeated



As Janz’s analysis suggests the main cause of service overload is

academics is the inherent asymmetry when you ask for help from someone else. If you

are the administrative units of the university or are responsible for creating an institution.

committee, and then, from your perspective, ask Bruce Janz or me to join the committee. Bruce Janz to attend

Some meetings or taking part in a survey, or look over the files

Absolutely sensible. It’s not a massive time commitment.

Our assistance, even a little bit, is essential to be successful in your main

objective. To say no is akin to being uncivil or even antisocial.

The issue, naturally is that these requests pile up. If two dozen

other committees and units have the same legitimate requests.

We’re suddenly overwhelmed by work that has nothing to be concerned with

the main goals of research and teaching, a recipe not only for

Inefficiency, but also outright anger.

This phenomenon extends beyond the academic world. Knowledge workers are in

in general are driven into chronic overload because of similar imbalances. It’s so

it is simple for marketing departments to send over an invite to a conference to get the word out

your thoughts on a recent campaign for a product, or ask your boss to email you your opinion on a new product campaign, or for your boss to send

An email from us asking you to plan the lunch seminar series for your group. To say

none of these demands in isolation could make you appear uncaring

or lazy. The sum of a lot of these “simple” requests leads you to

are constantly overwhelmed by all that must be accomplished.

In the case study on extreme programming The solution to this issue

This was basically to prohibit people within the company from inquiring about for

Programmers are programmed to accomplish things. Their main goal is to remain firmly in

The feature will be implemented to the top of their priority list. If you require

If you want to learn something from them, you can speak with their project manager who will come up with a solution.

Find out what’s really acceptable to be concerned with, while trying to figure

ensure that they are able to achieve their primary goal of creating code.

Unfortunately, this model doesn’t necessarily apply to the entire knowledge work

positions. If professors stopped performing all services, like for example, the

the university would cease functioning. Also, the programmer in the university would cease to function,

XP shop is able to benefit from being isolated, however many other experts actually

should be ready to answer any questions or requests, since it is the core of

collaboration. What’s needed is a concept that allows these demands to be completed

There is a need, but it does not stop one from being forced to take on too many. In my

In this article, I suggested an idea similar to this.

“One option is to confront directly this zero-sum tradeoff created

through service obligations,” I by service obligations,” I. “Professors have a predetermined amount of

time. . . . Instead of dismissing this fact it is important to clearly communicate these

trade-offs, by defining the exact duration the faculty member works

is expected to dedicate themselves the year to serving.” As I explained that in this plan,

Professors are not allowed to go over the time budget they were given.

They have agreed the department chair’s approval to be a semester-long agreement with their department chair.

My proposal for a service budget was intended more as an idea experiment

more than a plan in concrete than a concrete plan, it reveals a vital aspect about more than a concrete plan more than a concrete plan: It’s more

Common, in part, because of its magnitude. Professors are never

In the middle, and continuously always. In this chaotic jumble of activities it’s

It’s easy to put just another thing on the plate of another. But now

Imagine to use it as an argument suppose that the new rule was adopted that

The service was precisely measured and not permitted to

Overspend a fixed budget without the explicit approval from your Dean.

Achieving a level of overloaded service would be more challenging

In this case. If you’re a dean for instance, and you’ve put in a lot

of money to bring the top student to your institution of money, especially of course, when you’re

The woman was presented with a request to increase her weekly budget to thirty dollars.

hours to ensure she keeps on top of her many service requests. You’d be able to have

it isn’t easy to sign the form! If you are faced with stark numbers it can be difficult to sign the form.

It is hard to justify the overflow of work. So why hire a hotshot if they make up the majority of their

How much time do you spend doing administrative tasks? These numbers show

If you’re unclear, it’s easier to simply ignore the fact that we’re all