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Most people do 7+ hours on "unpaid digital labor" a week

https://blog.rescuetime.com/unpaid-digital-labor/

blog.rescuetime.com

Most people do 7+ hours on "unpaid digital labor" a week
“Unpaid digital labor” is the new term used to describe everything from late-night emails to texting with your boss before work.

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Unpaid digital labor

Unpaid digital labor

This is a new term used to describe everything from late-night emails to texting with your boss before work.

You probably think it doesn't have much importance if you quickly check your emails before going to sleep. But the constant persistent thought of unseen/unread work obligations can have serious consequences.

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The concept of “work/life integration”

Companies now love to talk about work/life integration instead of work/life balance .

  • Work/life balance could evoke an opposition between work and life and a sort of competition between the two.
  • Work/life integration is an approach that creates a sense of collaboration between the many ares of our lives (work, home, family, community, personal well-being, and health). And checking email a few times before bed is a small price to pay for more flexibility and control over how, where, and when we work.

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Track your daily unpaid digital labor

It starts with an awareness of just how much you’re contributing to the problem.

The main issue with tracking your unpaid digital labor is that it comes in tiny increments. It’s hard to track the 3 minutes you checked email while making dinner or the 10 minutes on Slack before bed. But these small check-ins adds up–both in time and well-being.

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Minimize your unpaid labor hours

  • Before you can start minimizing your unpaid labor you have to know how much of it you’re doing. And we're generally used to underestimate how long we spend on tasks thanks to biases like the Planning Fallacy.
  • Set proper expectations. One of the main reasons unpaid digital labor happens is because people don’t set proper expectations. We assume that people know how to communicate and we don’t need to spell out specific rules.

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The urgency bias

The urgency bias

We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.

We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of ta...

Why it’s hard to ignore urgent tasks

A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:

  • The completion bias. Our brains crave the reward we get from checking off small to-dos from our list.
  • Tunnel vision: When we get overwhelmed by the things we have to do, we choose to act on those most available to us; these are usually emails, calls, meetings, and other low-friction tasks.

Urgency puts us into reactive mode

The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.

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Fighting For Our Focus

Fighting For Our Focus

Scheduling of work falls into two broad categories: Makers and Managers. Most of us are either managing people and projects or making something, like documents, apps or other creat...

Different Jobs See Time Differently

  • Managers can work in time blocks of 30 or 60 minutes, scheduling meetings or sending emails.
  • Makers need almost half a day to get down and create something, requiring an uninterrupted focus mode that is nearly impossible.

What complicates matters is that many managers who are managing the makers think of time as short blocks and try to break the focused time of the makers, requesting them to juggle work or multitask, which kills any productivity or quality with the unending context switching.

Schedules And Productivity

None of us can get creative in short 15-minute bursts of work sandwiched between a mandatory meeting and a sales team call. It is also a myth that people work for 8 to 10 hours a day.

Most people are productive in sporadic periods of time, like 15 minutes, followed by an interruption, then for 20 minutes, followed by a commitment/obligation/meeting and so on.

We need to align our schedules with our goals and create a strategy that helps us focus on deep work.

Getting Things Done: the basics

  • Capture. Write down everything you need to do.
  • Clarify. Break down each task into an actionable next step. 
  • Organize. Move each of those actionable ta...

The 2-minute rule

If a task takes less than 2 minutes, then do it now.

If the effort to keep remembering a task is more than just getting it out of the way now, then do it.

Fixing small tasks

  • Fixing things is empowering. Our confidence increases or decreases based on our ability to make progress. 
  • Any progress builds momentum (and your mood): No matter how small the task is, crossing it off your to-do list gives you a boost of momentum and enhances your mood.
  • Small steps turn into habits: When a task is easy to do and quickly completed, it’s much easier to turn it into a habit.