As a developer, the most important two things are coding, and talking to client (or proxy of client, like business analyst). However, there are a lot things look like work, but they aren’t contribute much to the product you are working on. It can be easy for people to feel good about themselves by spending time doing these type of things, but that’s mostly likely for personal interests, instead of growing your product. Chances are, they are being distracted from far more important things that need to be done excellent.

Think broadly, you certainly won’t have time to deal with those things that look like work but aren’t , which is far better than not having time to deal with those things doesn’t look work but are.

Confuse what are work and what aren’t, is like fighting without arms.

things that look like work but aren’t

  • corporate affairs, hosting annual party, work on office event logistics - this makes people feel good by contributing to the wider community, and be appreciated by senior managers. But you probably feel confused about doing dirty work vs leadership.

  • winning award - external validation are helpful when you run out of other options. type of like proving the efforts to your mother that you are not wasting your time on meaningless stuff. It could just an indication how good you are at marketing instead of making progress.

  • speaking at external event that not relevent to your domain - good for personal interests, but pretty much waste of time for growing your product.

  • happy hours with team - it might sounds fun, but rarely find useful with random topics in a large group.

  • reading news, friends on facebook or watch tiktok - recreation type of thing. rarely find useful, not to say it full of false news.

things that doesn’t look like work, but they are

  • keep regular update with your clients - it is instinct for developer to feel their most imporant jobs are coding. Failed to do so, you are likely solving a wrong problem for long enough that you don’t get any appreciation for your hard work.

  • keep regular update with your corporate stakeholders - people feel this is kiss ass, but you won’t be able to do bold initative without enough of support from your stakeholders. You can have great ideas on driving product, but not neccesarily people will support you only because you have good idea.

  • keep regular session with your mentor, share what you feel imporant, seek suggestions, and gather feedbacks.

  • planning - it is not limited to drawing architecture diagram type of planning. it could also be presentation, one to one meeting, or product roadmap.