Fast Company

Where's My "Get Out of Work Free" Card?

No matter how far up the corporate ladder you may climb, when you look behind you, you’ll probably see a stack of paperwork mounting steadily behind you.

Even the most seasoned of delegators find there is a certain amount of grunt work that simply can't "trickle down" to the next in command. Often, the grunt work just takes over: a well known study described in the Harvard Business Review in 2002, found that "fully 90 percent of managers squander their time in all sorts of ineffective activities."

Which is to say, work is . . . work. Inevitably, there are decisions to be made that don't take effect with a commanding sweep of the hand or stately nod as Hollywood sometimes leads us to believe. For every blindingly brilliant pronouncement, there’s a raft of unseen, but stultifying, e-mails, phone calls, and meetings.

Or is there? What's the reality of your workday? Can you have the glam without the grunt?

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  • Vanessa Horwell

    I used to start off everyday with a wonderfully orchestrated list, timed, alarmed and precisely calculated for how long each task will take. That would last until 10.43am when I received a deluge of emails responding from my previous days emails. That's when I began to realise that i do not NEED to respond to every single email the moment it hit the inbox. Instead, I adopted a humanistic approach and looked at what needs doing first. And just got on with it. It may not be glam all of the time, but when I feel that I am not "working" and instead enjoying what I'm doing, the "glam" factor sort of kicks in.