The Lure of Not "Real Work"


Early in my career, I was terrible at managing my businesses finances. It was scary, included way too much paper and I generally just did it poorly. Soon after starting my first business venture, I hired a financial management team to help handle bill payments and my income. If I may say, it was a genius move.

However, over the years, I got better at finance. New software became available that made things like preparing for taxes or budgeting a small business easier to handle. After a while, the financial management team wasn't necessary and I took over the all our finances myself.

What is surprising is that enjoy it. There is something appealing to solving small little math problems. And, it feels like work.

  • Look! I reconciled our accounts!

  • Oh good, we only need to pay another $3254 in estimated taxes!

  • Wait, I spent $214 on coffee in Q2 of this year?

Granted, finances are important, but as I've begun to realize I really don't need be checking my accounts more than once a week. I'm not a casino or a mid-size business with multiple products and services that need to be tracked daily. I'm an entrepreneur with minimal overhead and no full-time employees.

My "real work" is thinking up and completing a lot of creative projects. Often it gets intimidating and I'm not sure I'm up for it. In those times it is really easy to work on something that is mildly diverting, like organizing files, cleaning my desk, or reviewing expenses. 

Suggestion: Set a regular time to do the important-but-not-real-work work. Maybe you clean your desk once a month on the 1st. Or update your billing accounts each week on Tuesday. But, when you're working, make sure its actually on "real work".

It's easy to waste your energies doing things that "seem" important. Just make sure that they actually are.

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Scott MoeComment