by Melanie Spring, Sisarina

Office phone is ringing without noise. Instant messenger is turned off. TweetDeck & Facebook are nowhere to be found. Email notifications are temporarily on hold. All cell phones are silent. No one is standing outside my door with a question. HQ is quiet. The Sisarina workerbees are buzzing with headphones in & fingers typing furiously.

It's No Talking Tuesday!

No Talking Tuesday was started a few months ago after I read 37Signals book, Rework. They talked about productivity and how interruptions cause a severe lack of productivity. Instead of trying to just cut out the interruptions, they said that they take one day a week or one allotted amount of time where no one can interrupt anyone except via email.

Emails are how we communicate because there isn't a sense of urgency. There's no cell phones dinging or notifications in my browser telling me to check them. I can work efficiently, make sure I get completely finished with one task before moving to the next. My only potential distraction is myself.

How do we do it? We have some tricks to making sure we don't break the silence.

1. MAKE A LIST: Put all of the things you must accomplish in order of importance for that day.

2. SET A TIME LIMIT: We plan for 9am-12pm & 1-4:30pm with breaks for lunch, Plank-A-Day & finishing out the day. This allows us to get coffee & catch up first thing, eat lunch & finalize your list for the next day.

3. EMAIL SIMPLE QUESTIONS: If something is urgent, send a note & use the subject line as the question. Keep it simple though so it doesn't distract from that person's productivity & you can get your answer quickly.

4. TURN EVERYTHING OFF: Yes, silence your phone & stop checking your FB. Your IM has to be off, not just on 'Do Not Disturb'. We have so many distractions that it's amazing we get any work done at all.

5. MAKE THE DAY YOURS: Schedule the day on your calendar (and your coworker's) and do not plan any conference calls, meetings or otherwise.

6. USE HEADPHONES: It's nice to sit in silence but sometimes it's better to rock out while you're busting through your to-do list. Plus it keeps you from wanting to ask your coworker a question.

7. LET CLIENTS KNOW: As much as you may think they'll be mad you won't take their call or meet with them, they're actually really jealous you're doing it. Most of our clients ask if we're doing No Talking Tuesday that week & are happy to schedule it for a different day.


Are you ready to do it with us? We'd love to know who else is doing stuff like this. Comment here if you are!

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