Work While You Work 1

11 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

How much work do you accomplish while you work?

For anyone who has ever worked in a company where the majority of the labor is done in an area full of cubicles, the answer can swing either way.

You can be so busy you never gopher up from your little nest, or you can use everybody else’s business to hide your uninterrupted winning streak — 212 (and counting) — in Spider Solitaire.

Work is usually plopped down into two piles: busywork, which deals with the Urgent and Petty, and grunt-work, which deals with the backlog of Important and Mind-draining.

At this point, may we suggest a different point of view to help you with your productivity? Thank you.

Summarizing Wikipedia’s entry to fit real life, work is energy applied to action.

So, by this measurement, busywork and grunt-work are the same. You’re applying your personal energy to deal with the issues that are part of your work (i.e job).

To clarify the question that started this article, it’s not really “How much work did you accomplish?” as it is, “How much important work did you manage to get done?”

Be careful now, there’s quite a bit of difference between the two.

Remember the Pareto principle? More known as the 80/20 rule, in work it’s generally understood that 80 percent of the actual results comes from 20 percent of the labor, and it’s your job to find that 20 percent. And exploit the heck out of it.

This is the vital difference that determines whether or not you feel that you had a good day at work, because you accomplished work worth doing. You didn’t bleed out your time thrashing around in red tape and paperwork, or lose energy in the time-suck of death-by-meeting.

To shed more light on this particular issue, David Seah made an updated Concrete Goal tracker on his website, and there’s a really nifty picture on that particular webpage that breaks things down in a very simple way. (By the way, Dave also has a personal productivity guide that is filled with 6 years worth of helpful articles. Go! Later!)

The picture just asks you,”When is something worth doing?”

The blazing difference? It tasks you to assign weights to your actions. The more weight an action has, the more important it is that you accomplish it. You rack up points by doing the things that count most towards getting towards your goals.

Using this tracking system, over time you get to see your actual level of productivity and ID for yourself the areas you need to focus more work on, and where your areas for improvement are.

That kind of self-awareness can propel you to new levels of actualizing your goals when you leave the theoreticals behind and couple it with actual application (field-testing, as it were). The next part of this article will show more helpful tools to help in the field.

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