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Why Workaholism, Meetings, Business Plans Don’t Work

rework-cover-front-bigAnyone who has followed the Signals vs. Noise blog is probably very familiar with Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s unconventional approach to business. Now, the blogging entrepreneurs have turned their wacky wisdom into a book on how to succeed, and they are telling readers to forget everything they’ve heard before.

Thought you should work like a madman? Hold meetings? Or how about having a business plan? Wrong, wrong, wrong! claim the authors.

“Not only is this workaholism unnecessary, it’s stupid,” Fried and Hansson write in recently released “Rework” (Crown Business). “Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more.”

What workaholics end up doing is creating more problems than they solve, because working overtime just isn’t sustainable. When the burnout crash comes, it will hit that much harder. Workaholics even create crises. They don’t look for ways to be more efficient because they actually like working overtime, Fried and Hansson write.

Besides from workaholics who make everyone around feel lousy, the worst business offenders are meetings. Why? Because they “drift off- subject easier than a Chicago cab in a snowstorm” and they “often include at least one moron who inevitably gets his turn to waste everyone’s time with nonsense,” according to the authors.

If a meeting is an absolute must, the authors suggest a few simple pointers that will make it as painless as possible, including setting a timer so when it rings, the meeting is over, inviting as few people as possible and having a clear agenda.

While having a clear agenda is a must-have for meetings, Fried and Hansson toss that concept out when it comes to business plans. Because the future is impossible to predict, long-term business planning is just a fantasy.

“Give up on the guesswork,” the authors urge. “Decide what you’re going to do this week, not this year. Figure out the next most important thing and do that. Make decisions right before you do something, not far in advance.”

Loosening up those rigid notions of musts is much more preferable than following a strict plan. As Fried and Hansson conclude:

“It’s OK to wing it. Just get on the plane and go. You can pick up a nicer shirt, shaving cream, and a toothbrush once you get there.”

With chapters like “Ignore the real world,” “ASAP is poison” and “Skip the rock stars,” you’ll learn not only how to change your business but transform the way you perceive business, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a small-business owner or stuck in a job you hate.

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