Freedom to the nose (2): stealing at work

How free are you at work? How free are the people you’re responsible for? “As free as possible,” is a good answer, but there are some clear limits: no-one is allowed to hurt people physically (freedom to the nose) or to steal the property of the organisation (or other people). Intangible theft – stealing time, for example – is harder…

A sharper razor

A fresh, sharp razor is faster and easier to use, is less less painful, and gives a better and longer-lasting finish. As a result you need to shave less but you feel like shaving more, a virtuous cycle resulting from reduced friction and better, more satisfying results. What tools to you use to do your work? Is it time to…

Quick emails

There are two types of quick emails. There’s kind where you can handle it in five or ten minutes and… the job’s finished; someone else can get on with their job, so you avoid becoming a bottleneck; you can help someone out by being on-the-ball and courteous with a quick and efficient reply; you can hand it over to someone…

Friction (4): mental overhead and nameless dread

Mental Overhead Another type of friction we experience is from the ongoing mental overhead of having too many balls in the air. Unfinished projects, unanswered emails, half-read books, unresolved decisions – all take a sliver of attention and emotional energy. This constant mental overhead acts a drag on our attention. reducing our ability to concentrate and – especially when we’re…

Friction (3): when friction helps

Friction in the wrong places slows us down and drains our energy, but it has its uses: Friction in processes or emotional friction it’s often a sign that we have work to do Friction is our friend when we need to be slowed down – it makes us pause, think, look before we leap and check that things are right.…

Friction (2): emotional friction

This is a different kind of friction: the uncertainty, delay and discomfort that comes from lack of trust or understanding. Like bureaucratic or procedural friction, emotional friction slows us down and makes things more difficult than they need to be. It takes many guises: The extra time we spend second-guessing and explaining ourselves because we’re worried someone will take what…

Friction (1): costs to convenience

Friction is anything that makes it harder to for us to get something done – buy a product or use a service, do our jobs, learn something, enjoy ourselves. There will always be friction – but poor design and execution and a lack of clarity about what things are for make it worse than it needs to be. For example:…