The Plague of Busy Work

I guess this is part 2 of “What are you working for?”  I’m stunned to realize not only how much of any given work day, but also how many entire work days are spent doing things that I neither want to or need to do.  Days and weeks fly by filled with “busy work” that does nothing but feed the machine.

The wants:  I want to work on what I want to work on.  Writing.  Surfing the net.  Being creative.  Pitching my book.  Updating my Facebook status.  Writing this blog.  Helping people.  Donating my time and skills.  Thinking up new ways to better life for my wife and kids.

The needs:  Simple errands that are part of every day life.  Grocery runs.  Checking my post office box (this has become a less than weekly thing).  Putting gas in the car.  Getting the oil changed in my Escape (I’m only 3000 miles past 3000 miles).  Swapping out my daughter’s dead red glow fish for one that doesn’t float.

Sometimes, at the end of the day or week, some of these things have been little more than a passing thought.  So what on earth have I done all day?  Often, it’s hard to remember.  My wife may ask me what I did today, and I really, really have to think about it.  Too often, in truth, the answer is “nothing of consequence.”

Most of us are, on some level, slaves to the paycheck.  Work is a necessary evil, but I encourage you to strive each day to do at least one thing that you want to do (or at least need to do!).   On the days where I do manage to squeeze these things in, they are what I want to share with my wife when I get home.  “Today I wrote another chapter in my next book on my lunch break.”  That’s much more likely to come out of my mouth than “I spent an hour and a half on a conference call that I had no business being on, and never said a word.”

Sure, being “busy” with the tedium of work beats the alternative of joblessness.  Still, whenever you can, busy yourself with some little thing that will better your life, or someone else’s.

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~ by suitenectar on February 8, 2010.

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