Posted by: Ele Quigan | June 24, 2010

‘ReWork’ Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

I hate self-help books. ‘The Secret’ annoys me. ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ not quite my style. However occasionally I do read the odd book for work that I guess crosses the border between self-help and manifesto.

The guys who wrote this developed some software that I use all the time – called Basecamp. It’s project management software that sits in ‘The cloud’ – and allows multiple people access to multiple whateveryouputthere’s – essentially something that saves time, money (even tho you do pay for it). It’s great, and I can’t sing its praises enough.

So when ReWork – ‘Change the way you work forever’ landed on my desk written by the founders of the company who produced Basecamp (37Signals) I instantly thought it was a book I’d like to read…

I finished it in two sittings. Each ‘essay’ is about 2 pages long, it’s incredibly easy to read through it quickly without skimming. Essentially it’s a book that encourages redeveloping work practices to become more efficient – my favourite quote from it: “ASAP is poison”

I loved it.

Don’t work past 6 pm. People who constantly work overtime can put a strain on other team members (and it’s also incredibly inefficient, particularly if it means other people feel like they have to work late too – even when there isn’t the work to give them, or the person who does work late gets tired on projects and decision making is impaired). Impose a few hours of absolute silence each day (I would if I could guarantee that I wouldn’t get calls from clients as well – but that’s a bit of a ‘no hope in hell’ comment isn’t it!). Work your dream job. Put time to the hobby that you want to make a career. Saying ‘I thought of eBay 15 years ago’ is an excuse, it’s not a valid answer, get out there and do something rather than just talking about it. Time your meetings – do you need everyone?

There are a raft of fantastic tidbits in there. I think the key outtakes for me were around not having to grow your business to be the biggest ever – if you’re profitable and have the right number of employees, and aren’t working till midnight every night to keep it up – do you need to grow? What about your employees – are they leaving on time and not working (too much) overtime?

It’s so easy to get caught up in your job and career sometimes it’s easy to forget that you have a life outside of it. I try to make it a habit to turn off my work phone over weekends, and if I need to work late, I try as much as possible to do it at home, so I am at least within my own environment.

While this book wasn’t a step change for me, it further cemented a lot of ideals I have around work ethic and the work place overall. If you haven’t read it – do it. You might find it challenging if you’re struggling to get the crackberry out of your hand at 10pm, or you’re still sitting at your desk at 11pm, but it’s definitely a start to a healthier work-life balance!

And besides, there’s more to life than work right?



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