Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Time Management Tuesday: Shadow Work

According to Daniel J. Levitin in The Organized Mind, shadow work "represents a kind of parallel, shadow economy in which a lot of the service we expect from companies has been transferred to the customer. Each of us is doing the work of others and not getting paid for it." He gives as examples scanning and bagging our own groceries, keeping track of our banking on-line, and pumping our own gas.

Shadow Work Is Technology Driven

Technology makes a lot of shadow work possible. We're making our own hotel reservations on-line instead of calling the site and asking an employee to do it for us because on-line exists. We're researching and making purchases at home instead of getting assistance from store employees, because so many stores have a web presence. A great deal has been made of the fact that many of us don't browse for books in bookstores because we're ordering books from Amazon. Amazon is an example of a completely technology driven company. There would be no Amazon without the Internet.

Shadow Work's Big Impact On Writers

Book marketing is writers' shadow work. In decades past book marketing was definitely part of publishers' jobs. Publication parties and book signings were connected with big-name writers and publishers were usually involved. While publishers are still printing and distributing galleys to reviewers, including new publications in their catalogs, and sending out sales people to promote books, writers of all different levels are running and funding their own real-world marketing events. They are also often publicizing them through Internet connections, the technology-driven aspect of this situation.

Social media marketing is a big part of the book marketing writers do, and it exists because of technology. All the social media platforms writers use are on-line: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, and something that was probably created while we were sleeping last night. Formal social marketing did not exist before the Internet. It's an example of technology driven shadow work.

Where Does The Time Come From?

Book marketing shadow work is an example of computers making more work for people, simply because they create possibilities that didn't exist before. Writers have more work because of the marketing that has been transferred to them, but nothing has changed in terms of the number of hours in a day or days in a week. For most of us, the time for shadow work comes out of writing time. We cut down on production to market.

If I find anything in The Organized Mind on changing the number of hours in the day/days in a week. I'll let you know.

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