Hacking work is all the rage these days, along with tips for managing email, taking notes, and running meetings. But, at a higher level, what can we learn from analyzing the different types of work we do and how we allocate our time?
1. Reactionary Work In the modern age, most of our day is consumed by Reactionary Work, during which we are focused only on responding to messages and requests - emails, text messages, Facebook messages, tweets, voicemails, and the list goes on. You are constantly reacting to what comes into you rather than being proactive in what matters most to you. Reactionary Work is necessary, but you can't let it consume you.
2. Planning Work At other times, you need to plan how you will do your work. Planning Work includes the time spent, scheduling and prioritizing your time, developing your systems for running meetings, and refining your systems for working. By planning, you are deciding how your energy should be allocated, and you are designing your method for getting stuff done. The best workflows are highly personalized and occasionally borderline neurotic, but they keep us engaged. It may not sound sexy, but Planning Work helps you become more efficient and execute on your goals.
3. Procedural Work Of course, there are many motions we go through every day that are neither reactionary nor strategic. Procedural Work is the administrative/maintenance stuff that we do just to keep afloat: making sure that the bills are paid or preparing tax returns, updating a deck for a business presentation, or tracking old outbound emails to confirm that they were addressed/solved. Procedural Work is important, but we must remember to remain flexible in our approach to it. Procedures backfire when they become antiquated and remain only out of habit, not necessity.
4. Insecurity Work Insecurity Work includes the stuff we do out of our own insecurities - obsessively looking at certain statistics related to your company, or repeatedly checking what people are saying about you or your product online, etc. Insecurity Work doesn't move the ball forward in any way - aside from briefly reassuring us that everything is OK - and we're often unconscious that we're even doing it.
5. Problem-Solving Work Creativity becomes most important during Problem-Solving Work. This is the work that requires our full brainpower and focus, whether it be designing a new interface, developing a new business plan, writing a thoughtful blog post, or brainstorming the features of a new product. Whether you're working solo or as a team, you're leveraging raw creativity to find answers.
Taking all five types of work into perspective, we can audit our day and the types of work we engage in most. Learn more from Behance CEO Scott Belsky's complete article from the99percent.com.