Two Types of Work

There are two types of work:

  1. Figuring out what to do
  2. Doing the thing

Many jobs focus on just one of these. Most upper-level jobs are in the first category (where your work involves things like deciding where to put time and money). Most entry-level jobs are in the second category (where your work involves things like following a handbook).

Both types of work are difficult but for different reasons.

Figuring out what to do invites anxiety. It’s emotional labor. You are burdened with the infinite opportunity-cost of your time and money. Indecision is the worst type of failure.

Doing the thing invites strain. It’s physical labor. It’s repetitive and boring and hard on your muscles and your eyes. It’s a slog.

I’ve learned that when my motivation is low, it’s usually because I need to do the first type of work. It’s the hardest for me because my motivation dips when results are less tangible. But it’s still important, valid, difficult work (something I need to keep telling myself).

Fortunately, the solution for both types of work is the same: deconstruct it. Keep breaking it up relentlessly into smaller and smaller pieces until it becomes possible.