DEFINING WORK v. WASTE TIME v. TIME USED THOROUGHLY
Sunday Jan. 27, 2019
Sometimes observations of friends – under auspices of ‘being friends’, ain’t so friendly. Case in point – a discussion. Well it started as a discussion. I was making some point, gently but clearly I thought. I suppose, on the listening side, it was ‘firmly’. Discussion morphed to borderline-quarrel. The point of that, how it unfolded isn’t the story or point I am about to make but only told to set the stage for this:
In the course of thrust and parry, I heard “you work 24/7”. Yes, a stupid comment, a pointed one. I ‘work’ in some fashion some portion of every day. All seven. Sometime 18 hours. Sometimes 18 minutes – depends on the day. At the root of this angst for me is not so much acknowledging 24/7 or any number of minutes, hours or days – but rather, defining ‘what constitutes work’. And, is the term really relevant anymore? For me, less and less so …
I ‘work’ whenever I want to. My ‘work’ is widely varied. Some is fun, some is cruelly mind-numbingly brutally boring but necessary. It doesn’t feel like work, it just feels necessary.
I used to work hard. Then I wanted to work smarter. And then in turn, I worked in a more focused way. Certain things called work pay money. In the nature of much of my work, you can’t tell what will pay off, when it will pay off – and all that often looks exactly like things which will turn out to be a complete waste of time. I mean wasted time, wasted attention and wasted chunks of my life. But there seems to be value in all of that too. It means ‘I used my time as I chose to use it’. That, is 24/7. Proudly so.
When I meet someone, work on a project, brainstorm ideas – when I write, when I publish, when I edit and polish; there is no difference between writing prose and writing an offer document or business proposal, there is no difference from washing my car late at night to writing a poem at 3AM. My body doesn’t work 24/7. But my brain does. Awake or non-conscious, that CPU between my ears never rests.
I don’t think I’m alone – in either this feeling or in being put upon by others who think we aren’t allocating our time/attention as they see fit for us to do. Or as they wish we would.
I can’t remember telling anyone they should or shouldn’t work at any particular time or that they should stop thinking about what is important to them so they can talk to me or spend time with me – and I hope I never do. I CAN imagine how it would feel for them because I know how it feels for me when someone has the temerity to suggest, imply or flat-out state that I’m working too much or doing something they think I ought not to. To them, I say nothing. My breath would be wasted.
Better I spend time processing my thoughts into useful actions. To move mountains, or to move my mouse, to wash my car or clean my house, to plant a seed in something or someone. That doesn’t have a start or end point, doesn’t punch a clock …