This is a great article that hits home for me. It’s easy to justify administrative tasks as Getting Things Done, when really we’re just spinning our wheels.
Last year, I made an unofficial goal to hit 365 continuous days of GitHub commits (I have a similar goal this year). Initially, commits were dedicated to completing feature specs and finishing up an app. Towards the end, however, I became more focused on hitting the continuous commits, and not the reason for starting the goal in the first place: to complete apps!
A good way to avoid the “false hustle” is to look at your time from the standpoint of a developer. As developers, we look at a large problem, break the problem into smaller steps, and complete each step one at a time. These same principles should be applied to time management as well. Look at your day, break it down into manageable chunks, and attack it from that perspective. From there it becomes a simple matter to keep on task. Just ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing beneficial to the immediate chunk I’m working on?” If it’s not, stop doing it, add it as a feature spec to a different chunk of time, and get back to work!