One thing I'll lament to anyone who is in earshot is how little I get done. What I mean by that is that the Java tasks I've pulled into the development queue.
On the other hand, I now need to remind myself to get water. I haven't even made tea since I started in this role. And it's a deliberate and rare act to go get a coffee with a coworker from the café just outside.
So the rules of inference suggest that I must be doing something. And the most obvious answer is dealing with people.
However autistic I feel at times, dealing with people is natural in a way that development has never been. The years of developed intuitions and heuristics I have about coding don't surmount the weirdness of the task cognitively. We're evolved social interactors, not programmers.
The point I'm getting at is that it doesn't feel like work to communicate. Having a coding task interrupted by a conversation never requires much effort to switch context, but it's very difficult to break free from a conversation to do coding.
The feeling of being busy is not being able to set aside time for the tasks I want to be doing, as what I need to be doing is something that doesn't feel like work. It is work, and it is necessary work, and it sure is time-consuming work.