Work Smart: Overcoming The Addiction To "Insecurity Work"

To create what will be, you must remove yourself from the constant concern for what already is.

Not long after the launch of a new site, I caught myself endlessly refreshing Twitter, checking sign-up stats and conversions to see how things were progressing. It quickly ate up my entire day. That's the downside of all the real-time data that we have at our fingertips now—and it's created what I call "insecurity work." While this kind of check-in makes you feel momentarily satisfied (multiple times per day), it doesn't move a project forward or further any of your big goals. Overcoming the addiction of insecurity work requires a combination of awareness, self-discipline, and delegation.

Scott is the author of the national best-selling book Making Ideas Happen and CEO of Behance, a company that develops products and services for creative industries. Behance's products include the Behance Network, the world's leading platform for creative professionals to showcase their work, and The 99%, a think tank and annual conference focused on leadership and execution in the creative world.

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  • Lisa Jackson

    "Insecurity work" is an apt term not just for social media, but for the overloaded and overwhelmed plates of almost every organization today. The addiction to checking one's Facebook and PDA has spilled over into the addiction of thinking that "doing" is the same as "accomplishing." This disease of saying "yes" and never saying "no" - to anything - is rampant in our over-busy culture.  In our book Transforming Corporate Culture, we talk about principles from nature for making work easier - "Where the river narrows the water moves faster." If you want to get better results, focus on doing less activity tied to a meaningful goal, and going deeper into one thing versus "wide" attention on 10 things.
    Great article, thanks for sharing.

  • Anna Rzewnicki

    Yes, social media provides great opportunities but the work still needs to get done so that there's meaningful content to communicate. All good things in moderation - still seems to make the most sense.

  • Deena McClusky

    It's nice to get validation from a person in a position of power that my refusal to let social media consume my entire existence is a reasonable point of view. Most people think the fact that I only check on things in the morning and evening, and refuse to have a twitter account as demented, whereas I view it as organized and not distracted. I can actually make it through meetings during the day without checking my phone once. How many people can say that these days?