SOS Newsletter - Solopreneur Operating System

Stop with the “Fake Work” already!

Read time: 4 minutes

We are all soooo busy. We spend so much time everyday working, but how many of those tireless hours are actually spent working on useful “things” that are going to make a difference in our bottom line?

All of that “fake work” which can also be called procrastination, is a killer of time and progress.

My goal with this edition of The SOS Newsletter is to help you smash all of that so you don’t have to waste valuable time and thousands of dollars doing useless work that isn’t pushing the needle forward.

Why do we do it?

If this “fake work” is such a waste of time, then why do we do it? Well, usually it is because it is more enjoyable than the work we should be doing.

It gives us a little dopamine hit and takes us out of the monotony of doing things we don’t really want to do. Especially, if we are unsure about what it is we’re supposed to do in the first place.

Here are some of the causes:

  • Not having a good support system
  • Lack of clear goals and direction
  • Lack of exercise
  • Caffeine crash
  • Lack of focus
  • Perfectionism
  • Poor planning
  • Poor sleep
  • Poor diet


Here is a “Fake Work” checklist:

1. Responding to every email

Checking email more than once or twice a day is a colossal waste of time. Unless you are waiting for a specific urgent email, turn off your notifications and get to work.

Setup 2 specific 15 minute windows to allow for email… maybe 10am and 3pm, or whatever works for you. If something is super important, they will find you.

2. Endlessly stalking your competitors

A little competition is great. It keeps us up to date and gives us new ideas, but watching them all day long, or even more than once/week is just wasting valuable time that you could be using for creating content or executing new ideas.

Just keep them in the back of your mind and focus on being you and being unique.

3. Unnecessary, unfocused and/or LONG meetings

This is a MASSIVE time suck. MOST meetings nowadays can either be done by email, text, or voicemail.

OR can be done in 15 minutes instead of an hour or more.

Also… if you are going to have a meeting, have the objective(s) clearly outlined, address them, and get back to work.

4. Attending Irrelevant Trade Shows

Nowadays, most of those are just networking events. The time and cost of being part of these shows far outweigh the benefits.

If it is part of your business model and it raises your bottom line, then carry on. If not, I am 100% sure you can find most of your information online and even find cheaper products.

And, you can produce more sales through active engagement with your audience on social media, or other channels.

3. Endless edits on a finished project to make it “perfect”

Whether it is a meme or a piece of content, I’m sure it is just fine. Obsessing on if it is the right shade of gray is another colossal waste of time. Nobody is going to notice those flaws the way you do.

The average person is not going to look at that piece for more than 1 second. Just do the best you can, and move on.

5. “Doomscrolling” on social media without specific motives

We all know by now that we need to be actively engaging on social media to stay connected and build relationships with our tribe.

But, there is a difference between posting and commenting, and checking to see what our friends from high school had for dinner last night.

Have a specific plan before signing in, set a timer for 15-30 minutes, execute the plan, then get back to work.

6. “Procrastination Networking”… otherwise called “Socializing”

Networking is an integral part of building relationships and our business, but excessive networking is really just fake work. Be honest with yourself.

Time is our most valuable asset. Make sure you’re spending it wisely.

7. Reorganizing something that isn’t directly affecting your business right now

I love being organized, but there is a time and a place for it. If you know where things are, but you are reorganizing your file cabinet at 10am on Wednesday morning, that is called fake work.

You can do that on the weekend or another time, but you’re really just procrastinating.

How do we smash these habits?

Getting clear on what you are trying to accomplish is the first step.

8. One exercise I do with my clients is what I call 3 CUBED:

  • Every month, write down 3 BIG goals.
  • Then 3 steps you can take each week to get those goals done.
  • Then, 3 small steps you can take each day to get those 3 weekly steps done.

When you do this, you will almost ALWAYS have your 3 BIG goals done by the end of Week 1 or 2.

James Clear

The other is to practice habit stacking, as described in Atomic Habits by James Clear.

If you have not read that, please make that your first goal for this month.

Habit stacking is essentially stacking an undesirable task with a desirable one.

We want to make our “fake work” a reward for getting our real work done.

For example, if you get that proposal out, write 3 pieces of content, and fix that broken website link, THEN you can check your email and scroll on Facebook for 30 minutes.

This is just a short list of “fake work”… I’m sure if you’re being honest with yourself, you can add a few to the list. Get these in order and watch your revenue rise!!

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