Meta Work is my term for everything from leadership strategies to individual GTD and PKM workflows—the stuff that transcends any particular domain of work.
Meta (from the Greek μετά, meta, meaning “after” or “beyond”) is a prefix meaning “more comprehensive” or “transcending.”
Things associated with Meta Work:
If we need a term for non-meta work (without calling it something like the real work, which has value baggage), we could call it Domain Work.
There’s some nuance to this, and it’s partly a matter of perspective. To me, an individual contributor, leadership and management are Meta Work, but to a leader, leadership is the Domain Work, and they might think of Meta Work as the things they do to manage themselves (GTD, for example). But from the perspective of an IC, and in some sense from the perspective of the organization as a whole, leadership and management are Meta Work.
Neither Meta Work nor Domain Work is more important than the other. They’re both essential. It’s a push-pull, yin-yang kind of thing. The tension between the two is what moves us forward, and to maintain the tension, both have to be strong and solid.
David Sparks talks about maker vs. manager—they’re two different modes of operation.
Note: there is another sense of “meta” emerging in the culture lately, with the rebranding of Facebook, the idea of “going meta”, and The Mindset that Douglas Rushkoff talks about in Survival of the Richest. That is an interesting subject in its own right, but it’s not what I’m talking about here.