"Get $#!t Done" Day


Productivity and morale suffer when you're constantly being interrupted. Keep your team afloat by taking a day off from meetings, emails, and calls.

AND I NEED THIS... WHY?

The day to day life of every company is packed with meetings, calls, emails, and interruptions.  Team members' productivity and happiness can suffer because of the constant interruptions. The goal of "Get $#!τ Done" Day (GSD Day) is to increase the amount of time we spend in deep work by minimizing distractions for one day per week. Use this play to prevent the meetings and interruptions overload state or to fix it.

You can run this play anytime you feel your team is overloaded with meetings and work.  After a trial, you can run a survey to check whether the team's general wellbeing and productivity have improved.

WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED?

Run this play at the scale you want: your department, your team, or just you.

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How to establish an occasional meeting-free day with your team.
People

1 - 100

Prep

1 hr

Time

8 hrs

Difficulty

Easy

Running the play

 

It's hard to make everyone agree on the best day to allocate to GSD, but you can survey the teams or make a call based on timezone overlaps if you're a global organization.

Materials
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Coffee or tea
  • Snacks

 

prep

Do your homework (60 min)

Write down your rationale for a GSD Day. You can use the 5 whys play to help you nail down how interactions and meeting noise might be affecting the team. You can also use a project poster to organize your ideas. The goal is to prepare a proposal to present the GSD Day concept to the leadership team in your organization.

You may want to start by establishing GSD Day as a trial, to test if the setup works well within your organization and to let teams adapt and reevaluate. You could validate the trial by checking an increase in backlog burndown velocity and survey responses. Remember the biggest benefit will come from having your team and all adjacent teams participating on the same days.

GET BUY-IN

Share or present the proposal to your team and ask for their feedback. For managers, having a day clear of recurring meetings is an awesome way to get the week started, giving them time to make some headway into their never-ending to-do lists, and get closer to their teams. 

SET THE DAY

It's hard to make everyone agree on the best day to allocate to GSD, but you can survey the teams or make a call based on timezone overlaps if you're a global organization.

Monday is a great day to GSD, timezones permitting. An hour-long planning meeting right after standup on Mondays can feel like a painfully slow start for a team. Instead, teams can use Monday to finish the current sprint and close as many tickets in flight as possible. At the planning meeting for the new sprint on Tuesday morning, they can quickly assess if they've reached the sprint goals.

STRATEGIZE AROUND MEETINGS

Prune the meetings that you usually have. Maybe even take this opportunity to cancel meetings that don't add value. Alternatively, you can move all the meetings from GSD day to another day.

Meetings to avoid on GSD Day:

  • Team meetings
  • Top-down meetings (e.g. Town Halls)
  • 1-1s (as much as practicable)

Meetings still ok to schedule on GSD Day:

  • Working sessions/whiteboard sessions
  • Functional specialists collaborating on complex problems
  • Interviews with external candidates (if other timeslots aren't available)

Standups, as long as they are brief and valuable - teams can make the call on this for themselves.

COMMUNICATE AND ENCOURAGE

Make sure the teams know what GSD is about. Send calendar invites, provide guidelines on how to make the most out of the day, support on-call teams that might require additional resources on during the GSD day.

It's important for everyone to know what to expect from this change and the benefits you're hoping to achieve. For some cross-functional teams, rescheduling weekly meetings will take some effort.  Help these teams keep in mind the benefits of increased focus time and productivity, and keep tabs on whether these benefits are being achieved or not once GSD Day gets underway. 

TIP

For multi-geo organizations, try GSD Day on Monday (for Asia-Pacific teams) and Friday (for US/EMEA). This maximizes the available overlap for cross-team meetings during the week.

step 1

Prepare your workload for the day (15 min)

Have a clear goal for the day. Plan to focus on one or two things at the most to help you get into your GSD groove. Focus on the most urgent and important tasks first, and break them down into chunks that can be accomplished in one day or part of the day. Learn to prioritize and deprioritize work, it takes some disciple to learn to differentiate the high impact work.

step 2

Optimize your work environment (15 min)

Grab everything you might need through the work session: water, caffeine, laptop charger, paper, markers, headphones, etc. Minimize the number of times you need to break your focus.

Create your own interruption-free zone by shutting off notifications, alarms, reminders, phones, tablets and anything else that is not 100% required to carry out the work at hand.

Ideally, you won't have to attend emails, calls or team meetings. Feel free to turn off your phone and find a quiet place. Remember that your teammates are in the same situation so avoid any non-urgent interaction with them.

step 3

Get $#!t done (7.5 hrs)

Ready... steady... go! Good luck out there 😀

Nailed it?

Be sure to run a full Health Monitor session or checkpoint with your team to see if you're improving.

Find your Health Monitor

Follow-ups

MEASURE THE RESULTS

Once your GSD Day trial is over, it's important to validate your initial assumptions with the teams. Did you achieve the benefits of team productivity, satisfaction and/or happiness that you hoped for? To measure this you could survey all participating team members and managers to ask if they felt an improvement and whether they want to continue with GSD Day. Ask for and share their suggestions on any changes they would recommend, as well as tips for making the most of GSD Day.

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