Guerrilla productivity tactics


Does your productivity ever come at the expense of your team? Mine does, sometimes. I like the term “guerrilla productivity” for these tactics.

Guerrilla productivity tactics burn relationship capital. Use them too much and people won’t like working with you. But when used rarely and with caution, they can save a deadline.

Here are some examples I use:

Block off an entire day per week on my calendar. Some people call this a Focus Day. No meetings, no Slack, no emails, nothing. As far as my coworkers are concerned I’m on PTO, but I’m actually getting crap done.

Ask someone to yell at me until I’m done. I’ve done this with my boss a few times. If there’s something I’m putting off, and nobody is watching over my shoulder to motivate me, then I tell my boss to be that person. He bugs me off and on until I get it done.

Delegate my “Ugh Tasks” to someone else, anyone else. This one can feel especially jerk-ish, but wow is it effective. When there’s something I’m dreading and avoiding, I can make someone else do it.

Block Slack except for 5 minutes every hour. I’ve written about this before. When it’s blocked, it’s blocked. I can’t open it even if I want to. I only have a brief window every hour to respond to messages before it’s blocked again. This saves me from myself.

These tactics run the risk of annoying my team. They’re all obnoxious things to ask of people. That’s why they’re guerrilla productivity tactics. They’re good for me and bad for everyone else.

  • If my team can’t reach me for an entire day for questions or support even though I’m not on PTO, that’s annoying.
  • If someone has to spend their valuable time making sure I’m focused, that’s annoying.
  • If I hand off my most dreaded task to some poor unsuspecting coworker, that’s annoying.
  • If I’m in a conversation with someone on Slack and poof, I disappear for 55 minutes, that’s annoying.

That’s why I have to tell my team what I’m doing. I tell them I’m blocking Slack to get ticket 1234 done. I tell them I’m taking a Focus Day on Tuesday to finish the Sprint. I tell them I need to delegate an annoying task, and I ask for volunteers.

It’s still obnoxious, but I’m admitting that up front so nobody can hold it against me (as much). So far, that has shielded me from being hated, at least to my face.

What are your guerrilla productivity tactics?