Do You Like the Work, Or Working on the Work?
Not long ago I did a deep dive into Asana, a project and task tracking tool that our staff is utilizing more and more.
If you’re a checklist nerd like I am, Asana is our own little version of paradise: rules and section headers and repeating tasks galore. As I began to learn the system, I spent far more time than I am willing to admit setting my lists up to perfection, as if a man can be justified by his to-do lists (may it be so, Lord).
But somewhere around creating project #328, I realized that I was enjoying working on the work more than I was enjoying the work. Adding tasks to the checklist? Absolutely. That’s fun. Actually completing the task? Eww.
Ironically, this was brought to stark attention by an email from – of all places – Asana. They said that we spend up to 60% of our time working on work. (And even more ironically, I’d argue that the very tools – like theirs – they would say simplifies work just causes me to go down the rabbit hole of complexity. That’s not their fault; that’s a me issue because I’m just a wee bit psychotic.)
That revelation sparked a wake-up call: it’s fine to love working on the work. But if I never engage in the work I’m completely spinning my wheels and wasting my time.
So yes, take time to dream and plan. Take time to get organized and develop your attack. Jot down stuff on your checklist and nerd out about your efficiency and cheer yourself on when you check stuff off.
But in the midst of working on the work don’t forget to actually do the work.