Two months ago, Johannes and I started the experiment of having one dedicated day just for consuming information. The simple idea was: if we know that there is one day in our work week that we can fully dedicate to reading, we will be able to focus more on the tasks that we are supposed to do in that particular moment instead of glancing at Twitter. Since I picked Monday and Johannes picked Friday, we also had the luxury of having only three days for meetings. That too is immensely helpful. It shapes the week in a very natural way.
As reported in the previous week notes, we do not see this as a rigid system that needs to be enforced no matter what. Instead we used it as a guide for structuring our work week. Some weeks, we won’t be able to dedicate a whole day to consume as much as we want and need to. That’s alright, because we are likely to do something else that is exciting and fun.
To make a long story short: the experiment of a 4-day work week was a success and will now become a general routine for us.
New experiment: more writing, more structuring
As one experiment found its happy ending, we decided to start a new one. This one was solely inspired by something that I have read about the way Jeff Bezos works.
Bezos says the act of communal reading guarantees the group’s undivided attention. Writing a memo is an even more important skill to master. “Full sentences are harder to write,” he says. “They have verbs. The paragraphs have topic sentences. There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking.”
While we will not directly start reading out our memos, we decided to start writing down our ideas. No bullet points. Real sentences, real structure, real depth. From now on – and until the end of February – only ideas can be discussed in meetings that are have been written out by the person who proposes one and who actually saved their text in a specified folder. This sounds a little bit more rigid than usual and it is.
We are starting this for multiple reasons. The most obvious one is of course already in the quote from Bezos. Having an idea is very easy, especially for meta people like us. Shaping this idea into something more than a spontaneous line of thought is much harder and requires either a lot of discipline or a structure that helps you deal with that particular problem. That’s where our experiment comes in. It will help us reflect and it will help us make the most out of meetings. It will also make it easier for other people to help shape this idea.
On top of this, it will also help us get into the routine of writing more. It’s a skill that, if mastered, can be of an immense value and we all want to get better at it.
With that, I wish you all a pleasant week.