June 20, 2018

HBR’s Doomed Management Tip of the Day

I’ve reaffirmed this same New Year’s Resolution for decades: I’d like to grow two inches taller this year. (Hey, it worked for a while into high school.) Since the millennium, however, I’ve experienced results that are, let’s say, somewhat disappointing.)
Which brings me to today’s Harvard Business Review Management Tip of the Day. Most days, it’s a tidy paragraph of sensible advice to start your morning. You should subscribe.
Today’s tip, however, reminded me of my hopeful New Year’s Resolution, also with the likely lifespan of a mayfly:

Have One Day a Week When Nothing Can Interrupt You

Lovely sentiment, yes? The author explains
“You can’t do deep, creative work when meetings constantly disrupt your flow and hurt your productivity. To give yourself time and space to focus, have one day a week when nothing can interrupt you — no texts, no emails, no phone calls, and absolutely no meetings. Block this day off on your calendar, and tell colleagues that you’ll be unreachable because you’re working on critical projects. Of course, something urgent may come up anyway, but try your best to keep the day from being compromised. Stick to a simple rule: You can move your unreachable day around during a week — maybe it’s Wednesday one week and Thursday the next — but you can’t remove it from your calendar or push it to the following week. As you get into the routine of taking these days for focused work, it’ll be easier for you, and the people around you, to keep them sacred.”

A noble ambition. Doomed to fail.

8 hours of scheduled, uninterrupted monk-like isolation from distractions (and collaboration, and new information, and and and…)? It’s a pipe dream. The pace of your life won’t permit it. Management today in a global, high-speed, full-access, connected environment can’t schedule 8 hours of no schedule.

A more practical approach?

Let me share one that I use. While I do set aside a no-interruption no-meetings no-phone-calls time, it’s from 6:30 am to 8:30 am, every day. That yields 14 hours a week vs. 8, so any unavoidable gotta-catch-a-plane disruption is a tolerable setback.
Have an even better idea? Tell me about it.