February 7, 2009


One nice thing about my new job is that I'll be able to work from home quite a bit. Besides reducing commuting time and costs, I'm drawn to the idea of telework because it does away with your own self-deception about your own productivity. It's fairly easy to look busy in an office without actually getting anything accomplished: the environment can, as it were, endow even something as trivial as getting a cup of coffee with significance. By contrast, you are surrounded by the trappings of leisure at home, such that slacking off comes into much sharper relief than it would otherwise. I am reminded of this Mitchell & Webb sketch:

I was spurred to this thought by reading Tyler Cowen's writings on self-deception in Discover Your Inner Economist, which I recently picked up. It turns out a certain amount of self-deception -- about your abilities, how you think others perceive you, even your own sense of self -- is a necessary part of life. There are times, however, when stripping away self-deception needs to be done; understanding your own work habits is probably one of those times.

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