Shut the portrait up

January 10, 2019


The problem

Open offices are killing productivity. It's not me that is saying this.

Cal Newport is embracing Deep Work as a median to achieve greatness in an era of shallow work and distraction.

I happen to run a startup with some other folks, This is our first working experience as professionals and we are constantly trying to create new procedures and improve our working culture. Day by day. Measuring the performance and the outcomes of every little tweak.

We rented a small office to build our dream and guess what. It's an open office of course. We are 5 people so far but the impact of 5 youngsters with full energy (on the verge of ADHD) and no concrete walls to separate us is huge.

The creative solution

I tried to find creative ways to solve this problem. Finally found one that is actually working. The name of the process: Shut the portrait UP!

How it Works

It's really simple. You will need :

  • Bunch of memes.
  • Portraits to put them in.

Now you should specify the rules. In our offices we have a simple one:

As long as someone raises the portrait then we don't have the permission to talk to them, touch them or by any mean interrupt them.

This is the #1 rule we must not break.

For sure you can modify this method with a bunch of ways and I am curious about ways you have solved this in your own. Feel free to write below your suggestions.


The results were visible from day one. All the noise was reduced dramatically, deep work suddenly was embraced by every individual and productivity was rising.

The example gif/images below are showing before and after the Portrait is UP.


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As you can see that the portraits contain memes with our team's faces also.


We are in the field of Deep Tech, we have to strive for greatness and produce valuable software. Without embracing Deep and Focused Work we will not be able to eliminate the noise around us and reach our highest potential.

Thank you for reading.