Graham conducted a series of extreme productivity experiments in 2013 in his quest to find new ways of how he works, and test the parameters of “productivity” and explore the idea of the “work/life balance”. Two years on, Graham will spend every Thursday for the next twelve weeks reflecting on what he learned from each extreme productivity experiment and how it’s changed the way he works now.
The first experiment was ‘Email Fridays’, where Graham only checked his emails on a Friday, using different methods of communication through the week. This was a flip on the idea of ‘No Email Friday’, which was the reaction of most companies to email overload, where they encouraged their employees to focus on collaboration and face-to-face communication by ignoring their emails on Friday.
“What if you only checked your email between 9 and 5 on a Friday and didn’t check it at all through the week?” Graham explains that he tried to prove that “great things happen when you step away from the inbox” and further experiment his idea that most of your email is low-value noise.
Graham had also discussed in How to be a Productivity Ninja about how connectivity can be great for getting decisions quickly but can create a constant distraction. “If I was able to take away the distraction, how would I work?”
In this video, he talked about the surprises of the experiment, recalling that Thursday nights felt like Christmas eve. He also discusses what could have gone wrong, how he dealt with the lack of connectivity and how it’s shaped how he works.