Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Teaser 1 of #NoOffice book - how you’re using your office wrong!


I’m writing the #NoOffice book right now and I’m more than half way through (60% done, but who’s counting?). You can read it all here for free. In my book after each chapter I’m leaving the reader with just one thought as the gist of it. One thought, one thing they can start doing now. Here are all these thoughts from the chapters in the first part of the book compiled for you to convince you to give the entire book a chance. If you want to work in a more modern way and you believe that work is not a place to go, but a thing that you do, this book might be for you:

Intro - modern work is changing

I’m starting the book with some personal stories that summarize the book. Nomadic lifestyle (Ch.1), hiring first people from hundreds of kilometers away (Ch.2), having team members move to different countries and how it all relates to the movie Matrix (Ch.3).

Yes, just like there’s no spoon, the office isn’t there either.

Part 1 - You’re using your office wrong!

The office is just a tool and you’re probably using it incorrectly because:

(Ch.4) Your team can’t focus on their work

That’s right - if work is not a place to go, but a thing you do, make sure you and your colleagues really do it. As a manager, do everything in your power to maximize your team members’ focus time. As a colleague, be mindful of other people’s work. Let them finish. Let them find focus. Let them do their best work. And you can will be able to do the same.

(Ch.5) Everyone should be writing stuff down

Cultivate this habit! Start with yourself. Write stuff down. Foster this practice in the team, and create a culture of written feedback. When it’s all written down, it can always be accessed later, used for reference and improved.

(Ch.6) Team members must NOT email themselves

Don’t be afraid to do it: BAN EMAILS. Use email only to connect with people outside of your team, and use specific tools to communicate through projects, tasks, documents or chats with your team.

This guarantees that you and your team are always on the same page and you can decide when you want to focus on working with your people and when you want to check out what’s happening in the outside world.

These two communication channels won’t get mixed up anymore.

(Ch.7) Meetings should be optional and done completely differently

Avoid impromptu meetings, make very few meetings regular, don’t make them longer than two hours, limit the people invited and always write up agenda items before and after.

This is the only way for your team members to feel in control of their calendar and to plan their time around meetings and longer stretches of focused work.

(Ch.8) People should fight (verbally) much more

In a team, we should avoid “groupthink” or just blindly agreeing with the leader. What we shouldn’t avoid is a healthy dose of disagreement or passionate arguing. This is something a team needs to get used to in order to make better decisions.

(Ch.9) Every leader should be a vlogger

Meetings can be avoided or exchanged for something much better. A wasteful all-hands meeting can be replaced by a regular short video message that keeps everyone in the loop. With today’s technology anyone can become a vlogger by just talking to the front-facing camera on a smartphone.

(Ch.10) Turn the work upside down

Learn about the Pyramid of Communication which shows that in an ideal world you should be spending most of your time on focused work (level 1), a little less on giving feedback (level 2), much less on chatting (level 3) and as little as possible on talking (levels 4) and meetings (level 5).

(Ch.11) Good decisions take time

It’s a good idea to take a little time to make a bigger decision because we as humans tend to take too many rushed decisions. Just follow the 5-step process outlined in this chapter and don’t be afraid to implement something in a cheapo way.

(Ch.12) Stop being wasteful. Be lean

Introduce lean to your team, begin with yourself, look for Muda (waste) in the way you work and keep improving things based on Kaizen (continuous improvement) math. Lead by example and inspire others to always be improving things and you’ll have more time for creative work and your job will bring you more joy than ever.

Remember, don’t search for big improvements, focus on the smallest ones - learn to save seconds to earn back minutes and then hours!

(Ch.13) Calculate salaries with a fair formula

By paying people fair and square and according to a transparent Salary Formula, you can focus your team efforts on the job that needs to be done. People will stop wasting time doubting if they’re paid enough, if their peers are not earning more or when they should meet their boss for a wage negotiation.

It’s simple - a fair and transparent payment system makes for a better team spirit.

(Ch.14) Perks should motivate people to have a life

The perks shouldn’t be sneaky ways of keeping people working more. They already work too much, and if they don’t, you’ve got more serious problems in the team that the perks won’t solve. Perks and non-salary benefits should focus on helping people be better people. They should be encouraged to have a life outside of work. Only this way they’ll be truly motivated to give their best at work.

(Ch.15) Workweek should be flexible

Everyone’s different. Fixed 9-5 schedules and overtime are history. Everyone should be encouraged to experiment with their workweek and choose flexible working hours that help them be the most productive, to find as many hours of uninterrupted time as possible and just adjust the work to their lifestyle.

BTW, I quote Jane Austen in this chapter, which is fun!

(Ch.16) You need to review your work life

You should look at the time you spend reviewing your work and life every week and every quarter as an investment.

Investment of time in a better future, a smarter you and a healthier team. Make sure you take the time to do it.

(Ch.17) End your workweek with a Mighty Friday

Implement Mighty Fridays by encouraging everyone around you to do their weekly review and later inspire them to focus on their personal development.

Both of these things will significantly improve the level of execution in your team each week. I assure you that you’ll feel like you’re achieving much more in just 4 days of a highly focused week than you’ve ever done in traditional 5. You’ll also have more joy at work as a bonus. And who doesn’t like bonuses?

After this, it’s all about not having an office at all!

The first chapters are setting the groundwork for the second part where I’ll be finally digging deeper into #NoOffice work by showing how all these modern concepts can be successfully implemented when there really is no office.

Stay tuned and please let me know what you think!

Teaser 1 of #NoOffice book - how you’re using your office wrong!

Thursday, August 27, 2020 /nooffice1/