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‘Fudgelling’, a term unearthed by Oliver Burkeman, means “pretending to work when you’re not really working”. I’ve always thought I was unique in this respect, but it seems that it’s common practice (at least since the 18th century when the term was coined).

In my case, I don’t mean skiving, lying about what I do or cheating (though perhaps I do lie to myself a little sometimes). I mean punctuating my day, getting breathing space, thinking, and working when I feel like it, not because somebody else expects me to.

You’d guess rightly if you said that I probably got into a lot of trouble at school. Later in life it was less problematic for me as I’ve generally been good at what I have chosen to do. There have been a couple of notable exceptions, and in those jobs I didn’t last long.

There’s a serious message in all this, one that I bang on about a lot, and which Burkeman amplifies with clarity as well as urgency. He closes by saying that “Bosses, in short, could afford to encourage more humane work cultures if they chose to, without sacrificing success”.

It seems that Fudgellers are just as productive as workaholics, without the attendant risks.

See also

Oliver Burkeman: Is shirking just smarter working?

 

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