So last week I got this nasty upper respiratory bug. I don’t know what it was, all I know is each morning I woke up feeling like I was going to die, and then got progressively better all day long until I went to bed, and then I couldn’t sleep for the coughing, hacking and congestion. Taking some Claritin D finally helped somewhat, but this is the first morning I have woken up and felt like I could actually be trusted to drive a car. So I came into work.

Because I was so out of it last week, I did not spend nearly as much time and effort on work as I normally do. In fact I took an entire day off (except for a couple of critical meetings I still called into).

And today I am pretty much all caught up.

How did that happen? How did I lose 8 hours of productive time, plus probably another 8 in simply being less productive than usual, and still not get 16 hours behind today?

Because it turns out not everything I do at work is actually necessary.

This is something of a revelation for me.

Because I was hampered last week, I prioritized my work and only did the things that needed doing. Also I wasn’t involved in any water cooler discussions and didn’t join several meetings where I would have normally spent most of the meeting “multi-tasking” on my normal job functions.

Of course I’m back to my normal routine today, and that means chatting with co-workers, attending meetings where I spend much of the time doing other things and answering endless emails that somehow keep circling around like electronic horse flies without finding any place to settle.

I wonder how much of our time in general is spent doing things that “must be done” but don’t actually “need doing.”

I really am wondering about that.