By Matt Birchler
I've been writing here since 2010! Back when personal blogs were all the rage. Kids, ask your parents.

The Undue Focus on Work About Work

The Undue Focus on Work About Work

It's been a rough year, so you'll have to forgive the potential hyperbole, but this might be my favorite quote of 2020:

In truth the problem with work is not the tools or the physical location, but the obsession with leadership , an undue focus on work about work, an overbearing hierarchy and the lack of true digitisation of the enterprise.

For some context, I'll re-share this Twitter poll from a few weeks ago:

I really enjoy working for my current employer, but since we went remote in March, the number of video meetings had exploded. My schedule was so jam-packed at the end of August that I had about 6 hours of time to do my actual work every week. And that number was before the "can I throw something on your schedule?" meetings that cropped up most days throughout the week.

This focus on "work about work" really clicks with me because I found myself largely talking about the things that I theoretically would be working on. Instead, I felt like a scientist who's suddenly on TV all the time: I was talking a lot about work, but I didn't have time to actually do much work anymore. I was being paid more to talk about work than to do work.

Since then, I've been brutal with cutting meetings from my schedule. Daily stand ups: now I go 2x a week. "Office hours" meetings: I'm down to 1, maybe 2. The "can I throw something on your calendar?" requests: all get a "can you Slack me the question?" response, and it turns out every single one has worked great in a short message, no 30-60 minute meeting required.

The difference in my productivty, and more importantly to me, my sanity, has been huge and my only regret is not doing this sooner.

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