2019-05-03 16:05 — By Erik van Eykelen

The Golden Five Hours Rule


I’ve suggested the following “rule” in a handful of companies the past few years:

(As a programmer or designer) you should set aside a minimum of five hours per day during which you don’t take calls, don’t participate in meetings, don’t answers emails, put Slack in DND mode, and find a quiet place to work.

After the initial “dude, that’s impossible” reaction, some folks actually try it and love it.

It works because:

  • The work that is carried out during these five hours is measurably of higher quality.
  • The work needs to be done anyways, so why choose to do it while constantly being interrupted?
  • Only in exceptional cases someone can’t wait five hours to have your attention.

People who embrace this way of working usually choose to work according a fixed time schedule e.g. 09:00 to 15:00 is carved out for the golden five hours (+ lunch). After 15:00 they return missed calls, answer emails & Slack, and attend meetings. Others like to announce today’s 5-hour slot timing on Slack when they start working.

I guarantee you’ll like it too.

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