Work and Nonsense
It is extraordinary how, if one takes a single day spent at the office, one can give a more or less accurate account of it, but scarcely any account at all of several days put together. If you ask anyone what he did that day, the answer would be: “I was in a meeting about the new IT system, I was at a conference about the future of accounting, law, public services in a re-regulated economy, I worked through my emails, I had to redo a presentation, I was called to a meeting about having another meeting about the meeting we had the previous week.” All this seems important on the actual day, but quite pointless if you consider that you have done the same sort of thing every day, and still more pointless if you think about it when you are away from work. It is then that you realise how many days you have wasted in trivialities.
– adapted from The Letters of the Younger Pliny (Penguin Classics) c. A.D. 100 and translated by Betty Radice