Home Productivity and Time management It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy at Work

It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy at Work
Read in 17 min.
Listen in 22 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Jason Fried , David Heinemeier Hansson

It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy at Work

Learning to work with less stress and greater productivity

“Working like mad” seems to have become the norm, but even when working at a crazy pace, people actually achieve less. The solution is not working longer hours, but wasting less time and having less distractions. The authors of It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy at Work - founders of Basecamp - are committed to making theirs a “calm” company, not driven by stress and haste, and they manage to do so whilst staying profitable. In this book they explain the rationale behind their choices, choices which are available to us all.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy at Work
Read in 17 min.
Listen in 22 min.

Your company is a product to improve day by day

“Working like mad” seems to have become the norm for many. For one thing, our days in the office are more and more broken up, because of continuous distractions and interruptions, both physical and virtual; for another, there is a collective and unhealthy obsession for growth at any cost, which puts enormous and often unrealistic expectations on people. As a result, we end up with hardly any free time left. Having said that, constant exhaustion is not a badge of honour, more like a sign of stupidity, because people tend to work at a rapidly growing pace and obtain less results.

The problem isn’t solved by working longer hours but by wasting less time, having less distractions and less worry: it is time to stop glorifying those who work like mad. Contrary to the standards in the working world, the authors of this book, the founders of Basecamp, a Cloud based app that helps companies to organise projects and internal communications, rather than being driven by stress or haste, and have managed to do so for over twenty years, maintaining a profitable business. This is why they decided to share their choices and their motivations, showing that a “calm” company is within everyone’s reach. Their philosophy is based on the assumption that a company is the first of an entrepreneur’s products and as in product development, progress in business is achieved through repetition: if you want to improve, you must constantly fine tune, revise and repeat. Yet there are very few companies that apply this process to the business itself. Most continue to repeat established practices, even when something is clearly not working. Thinking of your business as a product leads you to ask yourself certain questions. For example, are all the employees clear about how the business works? Is the business user-friendly? Just like software, a company has to be functional and useful.

It will probably have bugs, and knots to untangle due to bad organizational planning or to some cultural aspects that might have been overlooked, and can only be resolved by turning your attention to them. When you start to think of your company as a malleable product, new possibilities for improvement start to emerge. You need to continually ask yourself if the way that you are working today is the way that you want to work in 10, 20 or 30 years: if this is not the case, it is time to make a change, now, not later.


The key ideas of "It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy at Work"

Your company is a product to improve day by day
Work is not a war: the “anti-objective” mentality at Basecamp
The importance of safe-guarding your own time: 40 hours a week are enough
Productivity vs efficacy: the only way to do more and do it better is by having less to do
A company is not a family: behind multiple benefits hides the thinly-veiled risk of even more working hours
Real-time communication should only play a small role, the rest is asynchronous communication
Nurture talent and hire for skills, not because of a CV
Launch, learn and be prepared for difficult times
Take-home message
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