I did some work with Lego in the past.
In meeting rooms, they had bowls of bricks, and everyone was encouraged to play with them throughout (the team claimed it encouraged more creative thinking). This memory has always stuck with me, and yet I’ve never returned to it with much deliberate action or intention. Then, about a month or so ago, I stumbled across an article on Zapier, entitled, ‘Why you should build Lego sets at work’ and decided to try out the productivity tip.
How the Lego productivity experiment works
Green bricks = in flow
Yellow bricks = delivering as expected
Red bricks = clunky and unproductive
There are various ways to do this research, so you can pretty much make up your own rules. Here’s how I chose to approach it: each brick represents 30 minutes of working. The earliest half hour is shown at the bottom of my tower. I only recorded working hours – not lunch or time when I was doing other things. If I was in an hourly client call or a task which took longer than 30 minutes, then I simply put down a block once finished. I tended to add each brick as I went, otherwise the memory (and the ego) has a tendency to alter how the half hour really felt.
It’s impossible to think we can run at our most productive or inspired (what I would call ‘in flow’) all day every day, and yet I was interested to try and get a better visual understanding of my productivity levels over several weeks. It can be hard to remember how we felt at specific times in past days and weeks, how many ‘in flow’ moments we enjoyed and how much of our day was spent at a lower productivity level. I also wondered if it might shed light on when I was most productive, or indeed if there were times in the day when I struggled to be ‘in flow’. Would deliberately focusing my attention on productivity make me suddenly more productive? Would I learn anything else? Or would it prove a fruitless exercise?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say, so I bought my Lego blocks (the same price as gold bullion) and off I went.
What have I noticed?
Three weeks in, and my Lego experiment has been interesting. Below are three weeks’ worth of bricks (Monday – Thursday running left to right – week one at the top, then week two and week three.)
Whilst there hasn’t been one single bolt of insight (or an identical day), by bringing my attention to my productivity and energy levels throughout the day I’ve become more aware of what I’m feeling and what I’m achieving. I’ve felt great following times of flow, and as the days and weeks have progressed I’ve noticed less red blocks going down. Perhaps this is because I am more aware of how I’m feeling and instead of taking a huge dip in productivity, I instead recognise I need to concentrate on lower level (but still necessary) ‘yellow brick’ admin and delivery tasks.
Want to try? I’ve got four sets of Lego to give away…
I’ve got four sets of bricks and a base board to give away to the first people who email me asking to try the exercise. All I ask is that you share your feedback with me – good or bad.
Every Wednesday I book out an hour to hold a FREE agency leaders surgery. If you have something on your mind, a challenge you’re wrestling with or just want an alternative point of view, I’d be very happy to lend an ear and maybe help you start to unpick the issues. You can help yourself to my calendar, here. Speaking to a diverse group of agency leaders helps me stay current and contextualise the issues I’m seeing with my clients. So please see this conversation as a genuine collaboration where we both hope to learn something new.