Office Productivity Tip: No-Talk Thursdays

Man gagged for no-talk Thursday

Last time I posted tips about how to work from home successfully; this week I’ll turn to success in a more traditional workplace. The office is supposed to be a sanctuary in which you accomplish all your work. Unfortunately, sometimes workplace dynamics can make your office the last place you want to be when you need to get something done.

About a year ago, Jason Fried gave a TED talk called “Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work.” He cites unproductive and work-stalling meetings as one reason why work doesn’t take place in the workplace, but he also discusses how frequently you get interrupted at work. Joe from down the hall has a question, Jill from accounting checks in about the invoices, and before you know it half the day is gone.

Fried also recommends a solution to the problem of persistent interruptions: no-talk Thursdays.

What It Is

The idea of no-talk Thursdays is a simple one: on Thursdays at your office, no one is allowed to talk to each other. They can send slow-time communications, like emails and chats, that you can answer at your leisure, when you hit a natural break in your workflow. But no one is allowed to call each other or enter one another’s office to speak.

Why You Should Use It

No-talk Thursdays sounds like a pretty radical idea—isn’t one of the benefits to having everyone in the same office the opportunity you have to access your coworkers directly? But that’s why it’s restricted to Thursdays. You have all the other days to do face-to-face things that need to take place face-to-face; no-talk Thursdays force you to recognize which things don’t actually need to take place face-to-face.

If you can have one day during which you have complete control over your workflow—no unplanned interruptions, etc.—you can increase your productivity immensely. You can have one day set aside for all your heavy lifting.

How You Implement It

Implementing a no-talk Thursday policy at your office could be a bit tricky. Because it’s so different, it’s intimidating. If you want to implement it, you should frame it as a trial. Get your coworkers together and say you’d like to try no-talk Thursdays for three weeks or a month. That’s only three or four days, you can tell them, and then after that you all can discuss if it’s a good idea or not.

This “trial run” would also give you a chance to see if no-talk Thursdays are a good idea for your type of work (for example, work that is highly collaborative may not be right for no-talk Thursdays). However, it will also give you an opportunity to see if your collaborations function better when you also have time for uninterrupted individual work.

Any time you can find a way to keep your work uninterrupted, you’re likely to increase your productivity. Maybe no-talk Thursdays are just the thing to take your efforts to the next level.

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One Comment

  1. Aug 21, 2015
    3:21 am

    Ana Sabaduquia

    Thanks for sharing your visions on office productivity tip: no-talk Thursdays, it’ll be helpful for every employees who need better ways to be more efficient. If anyone’s searching for a list with different ideas, check this out: We’re also going to give this a try at some point, especially there is always new strategies that come around. Should you have any clarifications about the post, please feel free to email me on the provided email add I have added. Good luck with it!

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