Jason Fried

Jason Fried quotes on productivity

Founder & CEO at Basecamp. Non-serial entrepreneur. Co-author of Getting Real, REWORK, Remote, and “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work”.

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If your company requires you to work nights and weekends, your company is broken. This is a managerial problem, not your problem. This is a process problem, not a personal problem. This is an ownership problem, not an individual problem.


Productivity is for machines, not for people. There’s nothing meaningful about packing some number of work units into some amount of time, or squeezing more into less. Think about how effective you’re being, not how productive you’re being.


“No” is no to one thing. “Yes” is no to a lot of things.


Working more than 40 hours a week doesn’t mean you’re working hard. It just means you are working more than 40 hours a week.


People are plenty productive. It's systems that aren't. It's the process, the methods, the overbearing oversight, the absence of trust, the incessant checking-in, the lack of contiguous time, and the red tape that bog things down, not the people doing the work itself.


Busting your ass doing what doesn’t need to be done isn’t a strong work ethic - it’s a strong waste of time.


The best way to get things done is to have fewer things to do.


Perspective comes from zooming out. Insight comes from zooming in. They’re both enhanced by zoning out for a while.


If you’ve only got 3 hours of work to do on a given day, then stop. Don’t find 5 more to fill your day, just to stay busy or feel productive. Never feel bad about being done with something.


Best way to run a bunch of stuff? Don’t put yourself in charge of everything.


Beware of people asking to “borrow a minute of your time.” Time is never borrowed, since it can’t be given back. Time is used up.


I really do regret ever using the word “productive” when referring to my efforts or anyone else’s efforts. Being productive is not a noble goal or pursuit. Being effective is. That’s not a function of output or time, it’s a measure of impact.


It’s not about time management, it’s about obligation elimination.


“No” is no to one thing. “Yes” is no to a lot of things.


The tragedy of 60/hr work weeks is that if you just had 5 hours in a row to yourself every day, you'd get more work done in those 25.


When you think of your attention like you think of your money, you’ll make better choices about what’s worth ‘paying’ for.


For those who think more hours are the answer, remember that incompetence only takes a few minutes.


Practice saying no. “Productivity tips, tricks, and hacks” are all about managing what happens when you say yes to too many things…


“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.“ -Lao Tzu


People often assume there’s more work to do in the early days of starting a biz vs later on. “So you must have worked nights/weekends at the start.” Not true. There’s *always* more work to do than you have time to do it. It’s just different work, not more or less work.


Get interrupted all night, bad night’s sleep. So if you’re interrupted all day, how can you expect to get a good day’s work?


When you rush at the end, it’s not the end’s fault, it’s the beginning and middle’s fault.


People get busy when they focus on productivity. Staying busy is staying occupied. I don’t think being occupied is something to strive for. Being effective is about finding more of your time unoccupied and open for other things.


To those who equate “hard work” with lots of hours worked, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Quantity isn’t related to quality.


Take sleep as seriously as you take work.


One of the things a company should do best is protect and preserve their employee’s time and attention. Truly scarce resources.


Some of the best “hard work” you can do is figuring our your priorities, and making tough calls about what’s not worth doing.


Employee benefit of the future: Get paid to sleep a full 8 hours a night.


You have to make progress to keep making progress.


Want to get more done? Give yourself less time to do it. Works every time.


When you’re forced to work the weekend, the following Monday is the eighth day of last week, not the first day of next week.


Anything can be more work than you think, or less work than you think. It all comes down to trade-offs, limits, and how you scope work.


I’m not busy, I'm working.


Hair on fire is not normal. It’s crazy at the office is not normal. I have no time is not normal. Notification overload is not normal…


Employee benefit of the future: Bonuses for not responding to work stuff on the weekends.


…just trust yourself and do your thing.


Employee benefit of the future: “Fewer than 10 notifications a day”


I think better when I’m walking, I write better when I’m sitting, and I plow through minutia best when I’m standing.


Group chat is a bad way to stay on top of what's happening at work, and a great way to be perpetually behind.


This is also why using a task-first tool to run projects is the wrong approach. When everything’s a task, you tend to make a lot of them! And you tend to make them for other people! The tools you use have a huge impact on how you work. Pay attention to your choices.


Whenever a cold email leads with “I know you’re super busy…”, I know the request is just going to make me busier.


“A Stanford study found that output declines sharply after 50 hr/wk & nosedives after 56…”


Looked at your own calendar lately? How many things did you put there? How many things did other people put there?


Employee benefit of the future: 7 out of 8 hours a day are 100% you time.


Know what you’ll say no to.


Don’t get ahead of your skiis. Why set categorical expectations of yourself? Just set out to do your best. That’s enough.


Deadlines good. Dreadlines bad.


…breaking a habit feels like you’re aiming to do something better. But getting un-used to something is a real intellectual challenge.


Lots of Q’s about morning routines. But it’s not about the morning - it’s about the night before. Did you get a good night sleep?


The work environment has an enormous impact on the work. Stress shows itself in your work like it shows itself in your life…

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