August 9, 2012

The “Work” Trap

I find that I—as well as many people I know—fall into a very dangerous trap. I call it The “Work” Trap. What is it? It’s both a procrastination technique and a way of staying in your comfort zone while feeling or seeming productive.

You fall into the trap when you forgo other, perhaps beneficial, activities because you have “too much work to do.” You turn down a coffee with someone new, avoid going to an interesting meetup, or put off replying to (or initiating) important emails.

How many times have you made that excuse? How many more times have you made that excuse, then failed to even actually do any work?

For many people, “doing work” is easy in comparison to these activities: it’s known, familiar, expected, and the best part is that it’s also time consuming and “productive.” In reality, doing these things could be equally—if not more—beneficial than just attempting to get more work done.

I’m not going to make a bulleted five-point list of things you can do to avoid this trap—everyone justifies it differently. Just recognize when you’re falling into the trap out of comfort, as opposed to a true, driving need to get something done.

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Joshua Gross is web designer and developer, and principal of Planetary based in Brooklyn, NY.