(image credit Brent D. Peterson)
My dad has a book in his office titled Fake Work by Brent D. Peterson. I have not read this book. But the concept of “fake work” has intrigued me. There is so much in our day to day that I consider fake work:
- Checking your email 100 times a day
- Twitter and Facebook in general
These things give the pretense of being “busy” and thus accomplishing something. However, I have found these things to be more a distraction than a benefit. The concept of distraction has been on my mind the last two weeks. What do I consider to be a distraction? What are the things that keep me from accomplishing things on a day to day basis. Why do I fall into this “fake work” trap?
A few weeks ago our internet went out for a week. It turns out the puppy has an appetite for cables. It was rather stressful at first to be with out this modern convenience, but to be honest, I found it rather refreshing. Back in August, I made a conscience effort to unplug. Since that time, I feel that I have done a better job of unplugging and keeping my online interactions balanced.
I don’t know if you watched the Frontline special I posted a few weeks back called Digital Nation, but it’s really interesting. There is some powerful research about how our brain responds to being online and how it tricks our brain to thinking we are working and accomplishing things when, in reality, we are just multi-taslking and not really accomplishing anything. We are doing a far worse job as we multi-task than 10 years ago. We are far more distracted and have fooled ourselves into thinking we are actually “working” or accomplishing anything.
So, for now I am working to be more aware of what I want to accomplish each week (by writing it down in a notebook, offline) and focusing on that. Where beforehand, I would start each day by grabbing my phone and downloading emails while eating my breakfast. Now, I’m working to focus on one thing at a time and not multi-talk (as much, I have two kids let’s be realistic here).
If you feel you are falling to the “Fake Work Trap” I would encourage you to take inventory of your daily tasks and decrease the amount of time you spend multi-tasking and instead focus on one project at a time.