Do not mistake things that look like work for actual work (168 Hours)

This is part two of the more detailed looked at the book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.  If you’d like to read my overview or my general thoughts on the upcoming four parts, those are both online.

Meetings. In the field of education most meetings I’ve attended begin with the facilitator handing out sheet of white paper, partially filled with an agenda, and beginning without much direction. They often don’t follow the agenda because it wasn’t given much thought to begin with and there really wasn’t a point in having the meeting in the first place.

Fortunately education is also the field where the opposite is true, focusing on what really matters is important.

Cal Newport is an excellent example.  He blogs at Study Hacks and often talks about how he determined how to be a successful academic. He found that by researching the most successful people in his field, he needed to not only publish in academic journals but also to do so in a meaningful way.  Newport couldn’t churn out papers like a sausage factory. He needed to publish high quality, frequently cited papers within some niche.

Vanderkam shares similar stories about academics finding a similar path to their success, but what are you or I to do about not mistaking work?  Some suggestions are to include some scheduled indulgences in time wasters like Facebook or Zappos but to make them scheduled and limited.  Stay Focused for Google Chrome is one nifty extension that can block certain sites for certain hours each day.  

What’s going to lead you to success and what do you need to do about it?

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