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Beware of Fake-Work and Make-Work.

Beware of Fake-Work and Make-Work.

I remind myself that all work isn’t created equally. Just because I’m busy doesn’t mean that I’m being productive.

I imagine that every kind of work has its fake-work and make-work. For example, as a writer, I remind myself:

  • Create, don’t fiddle around with italics and formatting
  • Typing isn’t the same as writing
  • Cruising around the internet isn’t the same as “research”
  • Answering emails, checking Twitter and Facebook, and similar tasks, while important, must not be allowed to get in the way of writing and thinking
  • If I’m finding it very hard to write, I should stop trying to write and instead, start thinking harder
  • If I’m finding it very easy to write, I’m probably falling into cliché and should start thinking harder

Of course, one of my Secrets of Adulthood is that the opposite of a great truth is also true, and I have several resolutions aimed at helping me not to worry constantly about being efficient, but instead, to force myself to wander and schedule time for play. Sometimes, I work best by doing things that don't look like "work."

In your job, do you have to fight the urge to do fake-work and make-work? What form does yours take?

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