Hyperactive Hive Mind

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Chocolate was provided - thanks Željko

Hyperactive Hive Mind

Term coined by Carl Newport - books come highly recommended.


  • Company of a few hundred people - like to communicate. Could spend 8hrs reading email, slack, meetings, coffee machine talk. Volume of communication so big that 8hrs later, feels like nothing happened.
  • Overwhelmed with pseudo-productivity.
  • Is this a problem? (Most hands up)


  • Inbox zero
  • Use decline meeting button. No agenda, no attender.
  • Rule of two feet?
  • Calendar blocked out for focussed work. Mute notifications.
  • No-meeting Fridays, for example.
  • Focus on the area of business you affect. Everything else doesn't matter.
  • Only check slack, email at certain times of day.
  • Do Not Disturb flag on monitor.
  • Tick Tick (task tool)
  • Written agreement as rules of engagement (e.g check emails only twice a day. If urgent, call etc).
  • "If you're good enough at your job, you have autonomy" Carl Newport (applies to teenagers too)
  • Digital Minimalism: Social interaction takes over (slack, email, social) - avoid that. It kills focus.
  • Focus time - turn off all slack, email, text notifications. Anything serious: call.
  • 90 minutes focus time. Followed by 5-15 minute break repeat up to 4 hours per day.
  • Recharge/shutdown at the end of the day.
  • It takes a conscious effort to avoid.
  • Time zone differences actually help (e.g 6 hour difference). Only 2 hours overlap for meetings/communication.
  • We perhaps have more power to arrange our working day than we think.


  • It is easy to fire off a quick question when it is not super important as instant messaging is so cheap - does this set a bad example? Should I stop it?
  • Inbox Zero creates more stress - 6-digit unread emails make it easier not to notice!
  • Are you looking to achieve local optimisation at the expense of global optimisation?
Correct the balance of team/department vs individual (push back) - personal optimisation are good for all (personal, team, organisation).
  • How can we solve the hyperactivity part without affecting the (very important) hivemind? For example, losing focus to help someone could save them 4 hours of time vs the 30 minutes lost focus in doing so - this could be beneficial.