Sunday, April 26, 2015

Shadow Work

I spent much of my weekend doing Shadow Work.   Shadow Work is all the little things that need doing but you are not paid for.  For example, today I went through my mail.  Then lots of it needed recycling and sometimes separating before going in the different bins.  And I was at the grocery store where I waited in line to self checkout.  And then returned the cart.  All Shadow Work.

And I sifted through dozens of emails - many deleted.  I filed my expenses.  More Shadow Work.

None of it was strategic (yet).  I will get to strategic work tonight.

I got the name Shadow Work from a book by Craig Lambert - Shadow Work - the unpaid,  Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day.  Lambert took the term from Ivan Illich who coined it in his 1981 book.

So I "get" that there are lots of unpaid things that need doing.  Lambert actually laments the fact that it has increased with the advent of self service in almost everything.  I am not sure I would go that far - I think full service often converts unpaid work like pumping gas into more unpaid time waiting.  This is particularly true of ATMs or online banking.  They save Shadow Work usually.  They are faster than waiting in line for a teller.  Although they tend to have less personality (hopefully).

I know travel has a huge amount of the worst kind of shadow work.  CBC did a piece on how bad air travel is.  They did not even factor in the Shadow Work of booking it in the first place.

For many people, their biggest Shadow Work is commuting.  I have a short walk to work now but even so try to add value to the time by listening to the WSJ podcast.

The main point I get from Lambert's book is to "be aware" of all the Shadow Work I do.  And then decide what to do with it.  As much as possible, eliminate it?

Lambert makes the point that we should try to streamline the Shadow Work which is exactly what I am trying to do.  How can I do more in less time so I can spend more time in strategic areas.

His final chapter has a subchapter on "The Twilight of Leisure".  I am wondering if Lambert is not happy working.  "Work" as it is so called gets a bad rap.  It can be more fun than many leisure activities.

One of my investments - Organimi released an easy org chart product.   Check it out.

And a great slideshare on how successful people start their day.

Grandson Josh and I when I still had my mountain man look from a vacation in Spain.  And one of the latest grandchild - Elizabeth.


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