Busywork isn’t always bad. I turn to it when I can’t deal but still need to get shit done.

A web designer told me busywork serves as “productive procrastination” when she’s avoiding more complex tasks. A woman in sales and marketing said she values the solitude of rote tasks, and retreats into spreadsheets “when everybody’s annoying and I’m peopled out and my bullshit meter is filled.” A senior research program manager at a nonprofit explained that she values how data cleaning [...] creates an intimacy with the information she’s processing.