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It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work

Reclaim your work-life balance

By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Read in 13 minutes
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  • Contains 8 key ideas
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It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work (2019) is a refreshing antidote to dysfunctional work culture. Drawing on real-world examples from the authors’ successful software company, these blinks shine a light on how we can say goodbye to habitual workplace stress and become calm, focused and efficient.

Key idea 1 of 8

To scale back the crazy at work, start thinking of your company as a product.

How many times have you burst through your front door after a long day, collapsed on the sofa and exclaimed, “It’s so crazy at work!” Unfortunately, in our modern era of long hours, early starts and weekend work sessions, this scenario can be a nightly occurrence. Welcome to the workaholic world, in which 70 to 80-hour weeks have somehow become the norm. What’s the end result of this crazy working culture?

Unfortunately, it’s not higher productivity. More often than not, all the extra hours you spend at your desk aren’t spent on work that’s vital. Instead, they’re frittered away in a haze of anxiety and distractions brought about by the demands of new technologies and endless meetings.

In fact, the real outcome of long and hectic work days is added stress. This stress originates in the culture of our workplaces. Unhealthy workplace culture starts from the top and is handed down to managers, their subordinates and even the company’s customers. So, what’s the solution? How can organizations stop stress, change their culture and still maintain profitability?

Well, the authors believe it all begins with changing the way you view your company. To begin with, you should start looking at it like a product, and treating it accordingly. Though this might seem like a crazy idea, look at it this way: If your company produces products, the company itself is also a tool - one that is used to make those products.

Bearing that in mind, there are certain questions any good product manager should ask himself. Is your company simple for employees to use, or is it complicated? Where is it fast, and where is it slow? Does your company have any bugs that need fixing? Just as the best companies never stop trying to make their products as good as possible, a product manager with a curious mindset is continually searching for places to make improvements in company culture.

And once you start searching, brace yourself - there will definitely be room for improvement.

Indeed, organizations often share one very important trait with software. That trait? They both tend to have areas in which they crash, due to either faulty design or oversights on the part of the developer. Luckily, you’re about to discover how you can phase out the crazy and usher in an atmosphere of lasting calm in your company.

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