Two Types of Work

There are two types of work – Strategic Work and Business as Usual (BAU).

These two types of work have different goals and outcomes and can be applied personally and professionally.

BAU is the kind of work that keeps things ticking over.

BAU is about maintaining the status quo and meeting the day to day demands of current responsibilities.

At the BAU level, we answer emails, we collaborate with others, we finish projects on time and we give our best efforts to those we serve.

BAU is where most people spend their day — because executing well against BAU keeps us out of trouble.

But there is another kind of work which is not so much about surviving as it is about thriving — what we call strategic work.

Strategic work is about moving the needle; pushing the envelope; moving to the next level.

Strategic work is the kind of work that raises the ceiling of your BAU.

Strategic work includes learning and development, reviewing and refining our modus operandi, conceptualising and executing against new initiatives that produce change and growth.

Essentially, whatever your BAU, the expectation is that successful execution in strategic work will eventually raise the ceiling of your BAU resulting in a higher set of BAU altogether.

Another distinguishing factor is that there are often consequences for failure to execute BAU work whereas there are typically low or no consequences with failing to execute strategic work – hence why it is so easy to ignore.

I want to implore you to spend up to half (or at the very least a quarter) of your professional and personal time each day in strategic work.

When you schedule your day, consider whether what you are scheduling is strategic work or BAU, and when you have categorised it thus, consider what time of day is best suited to it considering your mental, physical and emotional energy levels.

My advice is to prioritise strategic work at all times, at all cost, and on every single day otherwise you might wake up one day only to find that you have spent a vast amount of your life just treading water.