Ok, 10X jokes set aside, it really does boost my performance! There’s an unwritten rule in society that forces you to communicate with people around you, or you will be looked at as an anti-social introvert who will never make it anywhere in life.
An example work day in the office for me looks something like the following:
- Arrive to work, chit chat for around 15 minutes with the boss before logging into my system.
- A few hours later, either my boss or a co-worker will approach me to talk about something work related, but the conversation derails into off topic time wasting joy. (pun intended, I’m a rails dev)
- Lunch time. I bring a lunch with me, but am pressured into taking it to where the group is eating, to eat there, instead of eating at my desk while taking care of easy communication tasks like answering emails or writing documentation.
- A few hours later, another sidetracked conversation occurs.
- End of work day. Sometimes ending earlier than intended because my boss frequently asks if anyone would care to walk with him on the way out.
On average, I’d estimate I waste roughly 2-3 hours of an 8 hour day just by talking to other people, or being distracted by visitors to the office. I currently work at a university, in what used to be the old financial aid office, so confused students frequently ask me for directions. That’s a lot of down time. Yes, some of that is my own doing, but a significant portion is from being around other people.
When I work remotely, I feel the need to stay focused and on track so that I can prove myself worthy of staying out of the office. My distractions are limited due to being in a state of productive mindfulness. In a 2 hour block of work at the office, I get maybe 1/4th of the amount of work done as I do when remote.
Talking to people who aren’t of the same mindset is very conducive to time wasting. I aim for every meeting and conversation to be limited to under 5 minutes. If it’s an email response, I try to keep it under a paragraph. If it needs to be longer than that, I’ll either make a phone call or set up a meeting to go over it.
These are just a few of the things I try to do to limit time waste, but it’s definitely easier to accomplish these when you’re remote. In person, it’s rude to walk away and not answer someone immediately, but over email, it’s usually not a problem if you don’t respond for a few hours.
And yes, I wrote this blog post while at work in the office. A distraction by writing about distractions at the office – so meta.
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