What counts as work?

Does having something to show for the work you’ve done determine how you feel about your productivity? In this week’s newsletter I explore what we might need to change about our view of what counts as work.

What counts as work is a question I often grapple with. Given the response to this tweet from Giles Turnbull I reckon I’m not the only one.

Part of the issue is that when we’re thinking we don’t look or feel like we’re working. Yet it’s a necessary part of the process.

In an office environment there’s often pressure to be seen to be working. I remember working in organizations where questions were asked if you didn’t have a good reason for being away from your desk. Where what counts as work certainly didn’t include time to think and you needed to show some tangible output from how you spent your time.

That pressure doesn’t go away when we’re working from home, or for ourselves for that matter. We’re just as likely to be the source of pressure and to want something to show for the time we’ve spent working. In many ways the pressure we put on ourselves can be worse — I’m certainly harder on myself than any manager has ever been.

Defining what counts as work can help us reset these expectations. Writing reminders, like this one, can help us deal with the pressure we put on ourselves.

What counts as work for you/your team?

What reminder of this would you put on a card for yourself/your team?

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