1 x 60 = 60
2 x 30 = 60
4 x 15 = 60
25 + 10 + 5 + 15 + 5 = 60
As they point out, although each of the above configurations adds up to 60 minutes, they are different kinds of hours: “The number might be the same, but the quality isn’t.”
For Fried and Heinemeier Hansson, a high-quality hour is 1 x 60, not 4 x 15. And an example of a high-quality day is 4 x 60, not 4 x 15 x 4.
That’s because it’s hard to be effective with fractured hours: “25 minutes on a phone call, then 10 minutes with a colleague who taps you on the shoulder, then 5 minutes on this thing you’re supposed to be working on, before another 15 are burned on a conversation you got pulled into that really didn’t require your attention.”
If you spend your day constantly switching contexts and attempting to multitask, when it’s over, you may end up thinking: What did I actually do today?
You know you were working, but as Fried and Heinemeier Hansson put it, “the hours had no weight, so they slipped away with nothing to show.”
They recommend looking closely at how you spend your time. If your hours are consistently fractured, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is responsible for the divisions?
- Are others distracting you, or are you distracting yourself?
- How many things are you working on in a given hour?
- What can you change?
From Fried and Heinemeier Hansson’s perspective, working on one thing at a time doesn’t mean one thing, then another, and then something else in quick succession.
It means working on one important thing for hours at a time, or even an entire day.