Busy Work


Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

A simple definition of ‘Busy Work’ might well be anything which fails to move you towards Output Productivity. Including, but not limited to constant tinkering with productivity systems themselves.

Crafting and maintaining beautifully intertwined threads of a productivity system, categorised and tagged to within an inch of its life so that you can sit back and admires your handiwork, considering it in itself to be the result of a supremely productive period, is, put quite simply, delusional.

That is, unless a large degree of your life satisfaction actually comes from this sort of thing, and there is no need whatsoever to concern yourself with other life matters such as family, income, health etc. So I do understand that some people enjoy tinkering with productivity systems in the same way that others enjoy building model railways, making landscape photographs or any other manner of pastimes. And that is perfectly alright as long as the purpose is nothing more relevant than simple enjoyment of the system itself.

But with all of that said, it’s well known and understood that ‘busy work’, is one of the most insidious types of Procrastination. Not least because the affected individual may well not realise that crafting a beautifully complex and comprehesive productivity system is actually nothing more than a procrastination symptom and that, in reality, little is being achieved.

Everything has to be weighed against your What’s The Point? question and your stated Personal Reward and Core Values.


Allen, D. (2015). Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (Revised). Penguin Books.

AhrensS. (2017). How to take smart notes : one simple technique to boost writing, learning and thinking – for students, academics and nonfiction book writers. Sönke Ahrens.

zettelkasten.de. (n.d.). Zettelkasten knowledge and info management • Zettelkasten Method. [online] Available at: https://zettelkasten.de/ [Accessed 6 Jan. 2021].



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