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Gretchen Rubin


Balanced Life -- Beware of Fake-Work and Make-Work

Posted: 04/26/10 04:53 PM ET


I'm working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too! Everyone's project will look different, but it's the rare person who can't benefit. Join in -- no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday's post will help you think about your own happiness project.

I remind myself that all work isn't created equally. Just because I'm busy doesn't mean that I'm being productive.

I imagine that every kind of work has its fake-work and make-work. For example, as a writer, I remind myself:

  • Create, don't fiddle around with italics and formatting
  • Typing isn't the same as writing
  • Cruising around the internet isn't the same as "research"
  • Answering emails, checking Twitter and Facebook, and similar tasks, while important, must not be allowed to get in the way of writing and thinking

  • If I'm finding it very hard to write, I should stop trying to write and instead, start thinking harder

  • If I'm finding it very easy to write, I'm probably falling into cliche and should start thinking harder

Of course, one of my Secrets of Adulthood is that the opposite of a great truth is also true, and I have several resolutions aimed at helping me not to worry constantly about being efficient, but instead, to Force myself to wander and Schedule time for play. Sometimes, I work best by doing things that don't look like "work."

In your job, do you have to fight the urge to do fake-work and make-work? What form does yours take?

* I can't resist time-lapse photography, and this video shows the sky above San Francisco's Exploratorium every ten seconds for 146 days. Beautiful.

* The book The Happiness Project has been bouncing around the New York Times bestseller list for FOUR MONTHS now! - including hitting #1! Yay! You can...

NEW! Watch the TV ad (crazy)!

Order your copy!

Read sample chapters!

Watch the one-minute book trailer!

Join the discussion on the Facebook Page!

If you're inspired to start your own happiness project, join the 2010 Happiness Challenge, to make 2010 a happier year.


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