Interruption as the Biggest Enemy of Productivity?

Mark Howell over at Strategy Central writes:

Do you know what the biggest enemy of productivity is? Can you guess?

According to Jason Fried, founder of 37signals, “proximity is an invitation to interruption and interruption is the biggest enemy of productivity.”

Interruptions maybe a problem – but proximity is not the cause.

I work with colleagues all over the world – and I often wish we shared an office – especially when we have a telephone conference. Proximity improves communication and understanding, deepens relationships and provides some lubricant to getting things done!

The problem may be:

  1. a lack of protocols and agreements about an ‘open door policy’ and what it means. Especially when there aren’t any doors!
  2. no formal planned times for 121 communication to take place. If there were then 99% of the non-urgent stuff could wait for the planned time.
  3. a lack of assertiveness in handling inappropriate requests or contact
  4. people are just so dis-engaged with the work that they just don’t care.

Whatever the problem – it is not proximity.


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