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GTD Insight #20: Do More by Chatting Less

If you could measure how much chit-chat goes into an average workday, would you then keep it up or cut down on it?  When four veteran employees were fired last May
due to excessive gossip at work, people were outraged.  At the end of
the day, it was a good reminder that productivity does matter.  It
appears that the high school girls who ruined your reputation in 10th grade have grown up and not kicked the habit.

If GTD
has done anything for the productivity world, it's enhanced our
awareness of the need to stay focused at work, do one thing at a time,
and handle interruptions with ease.  Today's insight is simple: do more
at work by talking less to those around you.  I'm not advocating a sort
of monasticwork-flow where we light candles and speak for only an hour
after lunch.  Rather, it seems to make sense that we talk when we need
to rather than as an escape from our work.

I see many people who
stay in a conversation just a bit longer than they need to.  It's a
sort of luxury that folks enjoy in order to delay work.  Fascinating
but true.

Some suggestions for getting things done today while using fewer words:

  • Keep your door closed for one solid hour while you crank out some work.

  • Go for a walk around the block after lunch instead of chatting by the water cooler.

  • Buy a pair of headphones and use at your discretion.

  • Put a sign on the back of your chair that says, "Please do not interrupt- power hour in process."


Resources for the Road
Gossip Tops Biggest Workplace Pet Peeves
NY Times: If You Can't Say Anything Nice
Become a Workplace Superstar: Tame the Gossip in You