Jason Fried on why work doesn’t happen at work

The other day, I came across a video featuring Jason Fried articulating his thoughts on the value of the modern office as it relates to getting work done.

What he has observed is that the workplace is often the worst place to try to get work done as it is nearly impossible to get a long stretch of time free of involuntary interruptions.

He reviews the three top answers people give when asked where do they go to get work done.

The first answer he discussed is “a place.” A place could be a coffee shop, a basement, a porch, or (as it true with me when the high for the day is substantially above today’s balmy 38º F) a deck.

For me, the deck, although attached, is far removed from the realm of the house where so much work that is never done awaits. Inside the house there are dishes to be washed, beds to be made, laundry to be done, papers to be sorted through.

Outside, there are squirrels, a neighbor’s dog, school buses that travel up and down the hill delivering their charges to the appointed bus stop.

Everything inside the house is something for which I am responsible and over which I have (allegedly) control.

Outside the house is different. No one expects me to keep the squirrels from running through the yard, it is not my job to keep the dog from barking, and the bus driver is the one responsible for getting the children safely to their destinations. All I have to do is sit and watch.

The second answer Mr. Fried discussed was a conveyance of some kind, like a train, plane, bus, or car.

For me, the car provides no opportunity to get work done as I am the person driving.

But many years ago, I did take a bus to work, and those rides to and from the office were the only uninterrupted time I had. There was no house work, there was no office work, there was no one I knew, and since this was before cellphones, it was, in its own way, quiet. I often used that time to read and to work through my graduate school assignments.

The third answer Mr. Fried examines is “a time.” Usually people identify early morning or late night as an ideal time to get work done. When I was a young mother, however, there was another time of day that I found most liberating, and that was my children’s nap time.

Today, the week arrived with all of its attendant chores; happily for me, after I had gotten caught up with at least some of the things that didn’t get done while I was driving this weekend, I did string together some small blocks of time that allowed me to work on a soccer ball that needs to be made before Christmas.

Having settled on this hexagon:

The seminal hexagon for a Duke Blue inspired soccer ball

I worked on making more of the black pentagons needed for the project, and I finished three more pentagon’s before the sun set.

Three black pentagons for a Duke Blue inspired soccer ball

And here is a picture of the completed motifs en masse.

One hexagon and three pentagons for a Duke Blue inspired soccer ball

And just in case you want to hear for yourself what Jason Fried had to say, here is a video:

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