43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

If I'm so unproductive, why do I get great job reviews?

I work at a large company, have two kids, run a side business and have a hobby that takes a LOT of time. In the course of an average week, I do my job well enough to make my boss think I'm great, keep my kids and business partner happy and make adequate progress on my hobbies, but I can't help but feel that I'm spending at least 40% of my time just zoning out and spinning my wheels trying to get a handle on things. It's not the number of projects I'm juggling at any one time that gets me - they are all either necessary (having a job, taking care of the kids) or personally fulfilling (having a hobby and running a side gig). It's the lack of down time and the constant feeling that somewhere, I'm dropping the ball on something.

I'm having a hard time believing that I'm the only one like this, and I'm curious to know what other folks do about it.

jerrybrito's picture

Because you're not unpoductive but probably hyper-productive

Jungle, I know exactly how you feel. Although I don't have kids, your situation sounds familiar. I think precisely because we're so effective (the fact that we're communicating on a productivity forum is evidence that that's probably the case) is it the case that we end up being able to goof off a lot while still getting everything done gangbusters. This in turn makes us feel guilty because we think about how much more stuff we would accomplish if we hadn't goofed off at all.

I think the solution shorten the time you give yourself for each or your projects, that way you'll get them don in the same amount of time, but since you won't have time to goof off, you won't. My suggestion is just an application of Parkinson's Law, which states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." If that's the case, shorten the time alloted to a project and I'm sure it will result in you still doing a bang-up job, but without the goofing off. Take the time you save and schedule it for guilt-free goofing off. If you have good systems, then the status of your projects shouldn't creep into your head during goof-off time.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »