Can Silence make you more productive?

  photo by h. koppdelany

I probably hear it 2 or 3 times a week from clients or other business owners…I can’t get everything done…I need more time in the day!  Unfortunately I don’t know of any way to actually create more time, but there are a lot of strategies for getting more things done.

The thing with productivity is that everyone is different, so what works for me, may not work for you – your best bet is to try different things and see if you can land on something that clicks for how you work.

With that in mind, here are two suggestions I ran across recently that may be helpful for you if you’re looking for some ways to be more productive.

The first idea is from Jason Fried – the CEO of 37Signals and the author of the book Rework, which is all about working strategically in today’s environment.

Jason takes a pretty hard line on a lot of things…and as I said earlier, not every idea will work for everyone but he does have an extremely successful business and he’s been published multiple times, so I think it’s probably worth giving this a shot.

Jason’s idea that I wanted to share – which is outlined in the article “Why the office is the worst place to work” (it’s a summary of a TED video that he did recently) – is No-Talk Thursdays!  The background is that one of the biggest killers of productivity for businesses is the constant interruption…whether that’s just someone stopping by your office to chat or attending a painful meeting.

The answer?   Pick one day a month to start out with and declare it to be a ‘No Talk’ day at the office.  No one in the office is allowed to talk to each other during that day – just sheer focused, head’s down getting work done time!

Depending on your work environment, I can really see this being a big boost, and even if you only do it every now and then it will help remind people to be aware that they’re interrupting work.

The second idea is a little less direct and may take you some time to figure out how to implement.  However it is a simple idea…instead of creating a to-do list, create a Stop-Doing list.  There’s a recent article in Business Week that looks at this from more of a strategic angle “The Stop Doing List”, but the idea applies to overall company effectiveness and productivity.

From a productivity standpoint, do a quick brainstorming session on stuff that you do all of the time…things that you or your employees spend time on and pick out a few that seem like likely candidates and figure out how you could stop doing them.  It may be as simple as just no longer spending time on something and letting it hit the floor, or it may require some planning to shut down some aspect of your business.

Can you stop doing your payroll in house?  Can you stop selling a certain kind of service that is generally more trouble than it’s worth?  Can you stop working with a client that no one likes to deal with?  Can you stop creating certain reports or holding certain meetings that don’t generate any value? 

For starters, pick 1 or 2 things and Stop Doing them and see how it goes.  If this resonates with you, maybe it becomes a quarterly exercise to find something else you can stop doing!

What productivity strategies have you used successfully?  Share your ideas in the comments below, I’d love to hear them.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

1 thought on “Can Silence make you more productive?”

  1. Majid says:

    Interesting article.
    Silence makes me more focus and energetic while working behind computer.
    One nice idea for more productivity is meditation.
    I can’t even explain how powerful is our spirit (which is in our pineal gland) power but you could get it clearly while doing meditation.
    It takes time to be able to meditate thoroughly but when you get it you can’t imagine to live without it.

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