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Protecting Focus Time

This page is maintained by

Stephane Roux

TL;DR: Decision-making, scheduling and good communication are just some of the ways we protect our time so that we can focus and do good work.

Introduction

Craft is one of our core values (

) and for this, you need longer uninterrupted stretches of time without any shallow work to get in the flow. This is key for everyone in our team, not just the engineers. For a young company that is growing fast and doesn't have super established processes, this can be hard. This article by Paul Graham is a nice perspective on interruptions and focus work. Some of us got annoyed by the lack of focus time, so we made it a priority topic for the company as a whole. Here are some initiatives to create more space for focus work.

Asynchronous decision-making

Many non-urgent decisions can be reached asynchronistically. We set up a template in Notion for decisions where people argue for something in writing and get feedback from others. If there are no major amendments, the decision is taken and there is no meeting. One surprising insight was that many more decisions turn out to be less urgent than originally assumed.

Stricter on meeting culture

More discipline on the basics: purpose and agenda in the invite, opt-in rather than opt-out. Separate process from content and rely more on recurring meetings (see and

)

No meetings on Thursday and before 2:30 PM daily

Teams have each morning and a full day of unstructured focus time. Team still collaborate together, but there are no classic decision or update meetings, especially not across teams.

Block scheduling

We try to bundle recurring topics to minimise task-switching. For example, people are on "interview duty" and devote a whole afternoon to them, rather than having a bunch of interviews scattered across the week.

Better internal communications

Lots of distractions occur because people aren't up to date or don't know where to find stuff. We set up this Notion in at attempt to be super structured and transparent. We also have an internal Notion Newsroom where we send structured weekly updates to the whole team. It's more bundled and focused and doesn't get lost in the depth of some Slack channel.

Awareness and shift in priorities

Part of the solution is to raise awareness and agree on priorities. Protecting focus time means that some topics will progress more slowly because we have to wait on each other. That's fine - our primary goal is to build a great product. To ensure that happens we're more than happy to be slower on admin.