Are You Doing Fake Work?

Jason Fried points out in the book ReWork that working long hours doesn’t mean you are working hard. A lot of work that people do can be unproductive and not move you closer to your accomplishing your goals. I think it is a good practice to ask yourself: “why am I doing this?”.

Lifehacker recently had a post about this topic:

What Is Fake Work?

Working harder is often confused with working effectively, especially in countries like the United States that have a harder, faster, longer mentality when it comes to work. So how can you get a bead on your own work and determine if you’re working on the stuff that matters or just on the stuff that your boss packs into your day?

Peterson and Nielson define real work as work that is critical to and aligned with the key goals of an organization—whether we’re talking about your entire company or your one-man wolf pack. Fake work, conversely, only has the illusion of value. Time, energy, and money are funneled towards projects that don’t help the organization or the individual achieve their goals or produce effectively. Endless meetings, layers of paper work, reporting to multiple managers, and the misguided rewarding of people who work long and hard hours instead of short and efficient ones all contributes to a culture of fake work.

Randy Pausch Time Management Presentation

Randy Pausch’s Top Time Management Tips

1. Do the ugliest thing first.

2. Focus on the important urgent tasks.

3. Think about time in terms of money.

4. A filing system is essential.

5. Use multiple computer monitors.

6. Have some system to know where you have to be when (it saves brain power).

7. Get a speaker phone for your desk.

8. Stand during phone calls.

9. Start by announcing goals for the call.

10. Call people right before lunch or right before the end of the day.

11. Learn to say no.

12. Find your creative/productive time and defend it ruthlessly.

13. Find your dead time.

14. Turn phone calls into email.

15. Monitor where your time is going. Keep a time journal.

16. Make up a fake deadline and act like it’s real.

17. Empower those to whom you delegate.

18. When you delegate, do the ugliest job yourself.

19. Treat your secretary well.

20. Give people objectives, not procedures.

21. Have someone record what was decided at the meeting and who will do what when.

22. Take away everyone’s Blackberrys.

23. Require meetings to have an agenda.

24. Don’t delete emails.

25. If you want something done, don’t send it to 5 people.

26. Don’t watch television.

27. Eat, sleep, and exercise.

28. Renegotiate deadlines you can’t make.

29. Recognize most things are pass/fail.

30. Get feedback loops.

From The Executive Productivity Blog