We can divide our jobs into two hemispheres: “meaningful work” and “busy work”.
Meaningful work is the stuff we actually care about. Busy work is the peripheral stuff like filing emails, form filling, re-documenting your work, justifying something for the third time, etc. Paraphrasing Justice Potter Stewart said, you may not be able to define it, but you know it when you see it.
The trick about busy work is that it’s far too easy to do. Because even if it’s kinda meaningless, from the outside it still looks like work.
So you can easily fall into the trap of just doing busy work eight hours a day, and pretend that you’re actually getting something done.
It’s a trap we all fall into. It’s not fatal, but it does have one big danger: that if you do it often enough before you know it, you’ve made busy work a full-time, 8-hour-a-day career.
And then you’re REALLY stuck.
The trick to doing meaningful work is knowing what it actually is- what it actually means to you personally. And you only know that by fighting for it.
And that’s hard and it takes forever.
But what else is there? Exactly.