Work has a tendency to land in three essential buckets. (At least for my work - maybe it's different for you?)
Mostly important - and often urgent work which requires little thought. I can do this work when energy levels are low and my mind feels distracted. It often involves Microsoft Excel, somehow. Internal email, expense reports, team meetings, and internal reports are all included here. While these tasks usually do little to directly affect the completion of weekly work goals - they are essential for other's to accomplish their tasks and needed for the larger organization to gain essential knowledge and understanding. Plus, I do need to stay organized. So there's that.
This is the largest percentage of the work week as far as time is concerned. Outward facing meetings, proposals, written documents, and external email all fit into this category. Output is essential because this is what defines work and what I'm getting paid to do.
Not the most time consuming aspect of work. However, I count it the most important part of my schedule - and something I prioritize above output and admin. Input includes reading and understanding news related to my field, reading books that make me better, listening to podcasts from which I learn, and personal journaling to clarify my thinking. A daily walk outside (usually with dogs) also lands here - as this is important for re-energizing and problem solving (I call it "think time").
Of these three buckets - I try to minimize admin to the most essential. I spend the most time with output. I prioritize input.
All of these these buckets are important - and essential.
However, input must be prioritized - because if it's not - it will get blown away by the whirlwind of required output and administrative tasks.
Give the most time to output.
Give the most energy to input.
Because input energizes everything else.
Those are my work buckets. What are yours? What makes up the essence of your work? What energizes your work?