As early as 1986, Steve Jobs recognized a great enemy of productivity


Steve Jobs, the creator of companies like Apple, left numerous pieces of advice that still serve as a reference for other entrepreneurs and business people today. The well-known visionary has publicly expressed his views on topics relevant to team management, including meetings.

According to Ken Segall, Apple’s former creative director, Steve Jobs liked to throw people out of meetings that he didn’t think should be there. Even if they were invited by other participants. This is what Segall describes in his book Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success.

(One) The key to the success of Steve Jobs

A letter written by Steve Jobs while at NeXt Computer Inc.






A letter written by Steve Jobs while at NeXt Computer Inc.

In a letter from his time at NeXT Computer Inc., Jobs discusses meetings and team management, highlighting his statement that…

To stay true to this principle, Jobs reminds us that “we all need time for undisturbed individual work.” According to him, meetings rob us of individual time and productivity. At the time he was talking about his engineers, but we can certainly adopt this tip for ourselves.

Jobs’ suggestion, therefore, was to make one day of the week a non-meeting day. He felt Thursday was perfect for this:

»Thursday is a day when we metaphorically close the doors to the outside world and work in peace.«

Steve Jobs is not the only one who recognized this problem. Many employees also know about the everyday time wasters.

Meetings: Productivity’s worst enemy

Otter's graphic shows the stress and distraction of meetings and other things in everyday life.  (Image: Otter.ai)






Otter’s graphic shows the stress and distraction of meetings and other things in everyday life. (Image: Otter.ai)

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Productivity company Asana surveys thousands of workers each year to identify the top barriers to productivity. The April 2022 report states that a majority of the 9615 respondents believe that meetings are the biggest and mostly unnecessary time wasters.

A study by Otter also states that around 70 percent of all meetings prevent employees from completing their tasks. Concentration also suffers greatly. In addition, they can also be a psychological and physical burden.

No wonder Steve Jobs decided early on that meetings should be kept as short and small as possible.

What do you think of Steve Jobs’ attitude towards meetings? Do you agree with the Apple founder? Do you like to meet up with your colleagues in the meeting room or is that too much for you? How many meetings do you have daily? Would you like to have less and do you think it will make you more productive? Write us your opinion and experiences, as always, in the comments!

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