We assume that we know what is work. But it is interesting to see what is not ‘good work’. Good Work is not:
1. Redoing something that was done with errors. You may have to do it but it is not good work because it is wasteful. (e.g. your report comes back to you with comments on missing parts, errors, etc.)
2. Reminding people. You may have to do it but it is not good work because it wastes your time. (e.g. you remind your colleagues for same work again and again. Your project management becomes a de facto reminder service.)
3. Reinventing the wheel. It is not good work because you are not using what has been done before. You haven’t prepared and planned your work well. ( e.g. You know that someone has done a similar engineering analysis and you haven’t simply cared to find it and your deadline has passed. Now you are breathlessly working on it.)
4. Meetings that are only for information sharing. No sooner than the presentation is over the meeting is declared to be over, may be with just one or two questions. Information is best shared through write ups, charts, pictures or videos. Discussion based on a previously shared information and agenda is much more efficient. Attending such meetings is definitely not good work even if you are ‘colluding’ with boss in this!
5. Any discussion on a complex subject through email threads is not good work. E mail threads are difficult to assimilate because information in it is scattered. People find it difficult to read all comments on each point and may repeat what someone else has said, increasing burden on others to read it all. All this is not good work. This is best done through shared documents.
6. Reading and replying to emails: You will find that much of your email efforts belong to things related to 1, 2 or 5
7. Calling and answering calls: You will find that much of your email efforts belong to things related to 1, 2, 4 or 5
How much of your ‘working’ time goes in above activities? What do you do to spend most of your time doing good work?
My book Lead to Regenerate (see http://www.learning-leadership.com/blog/lead-to-regenerate/) has some useful discussion and practice workouts on this subject.