It’s easy to see how interruption-driven cultures are born as teams grow. Everyone needs a piece of you throughout the day. Suddenly, everyone except you is deciding how you spend your next twenty minutes.
Stryve started feeling that pain as we doubled the size of our team. We implemented a company-wide time blocking policy called “Get Shit Done Wednesdays”. What happened next? We started getting a lot more shit done. Not just on Wednesdays, but every day of the work week.
Interruptions can hurt more than help
Prioritizing what deserves your attention and what can wait can be difficult, especially when you have a collaborative culture. But always making yourself available to others is a catch-22 when it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get refocused on your original task. Helping other projects move forward at the expense of your own can end up hurting the company anyway.
Find the balance between collaboration and “getting shit done”
Working smarter rather than harder is a core part of the culture here at Stryve. For us, part of working smarter means leveraging our multi-talented team across all projects. While each project is owned by a defined subset of our team, often an outside member will lend their skill set on a particular piece of the puzzle.
But as our team grew, we found it increasingly hard to stick to our “get shit done” mantra while remaining collaborative. More team members meant more projects, and balancing different priorities and deadlines.
Schedule a meeting with yourself
We tackled the issue during our weekly Stryve IO (Iterate & Optimize) meetings and decided to implement next-level time-blocking. We’re not talking 30-60 minutes here; we’re talking a whole day of uninterrupted “get shit done” time.
Going forward, our Wednesdays became “get shit done” days. This meant no client calls or other meetings booked—just a chunk of heads-down, distraction-free hours for us to dedicate to the week’s tasks that require deeper thinking. Otherwise known as bliss in the corporate world.
Time blocking is working for us
Wednesdays have become our team’s favourite day. Actually I’m lying—it’s obviously still Friday. But anecdotally, time blocking has made a huge difference at Stryve.
Team members have mentioned feeling more energized coming into work knowing the week’s structure helps them do their best work. Having the time and head space to devote to complex projects leaves us feeling great about the quality of work we’ve done. There’s an improvement in the flow of work and a noticeable refocus in meetings on other days because we are much less preoccupied with other to-dos.
Work to perfect it
Is it a perfect solution out of the box? We’d be lying if we said our new strategy worked flawlessly from day one. When you block off 20% of the hours in your team’s week, scheduling important meetings can become challenging. As with any new initiative Stryve adopts, we checked in regularly with each other to see how things could be improved.
It’s important to balance the commitment to time blocking, while being flexible for those time-sensitive or important matters that will inevitably pop up. Our advice is to decide on general guidelines as a team, commit to them, and take outliers on a case-by-case basis.
UPDATE – ONE YEAR LATER: We’re floored. When we published this post, we didn’t expect it to garner this much attention (it kinda broke our site!). We’re stoked that so many great organizations feeling similar pain were able to enjoy the read and start implementing a policy like GSDW in their own workplaces! We figured you all might want to know how GSDW is doing, so we wrote a 1 year anniversary update post.