What Counts as Work?
Anita Sharpe on Passionate Work
Whenever anyone says they work 80 hours a week -- which, of course, is more than 11 hours a day, seven days a week -- I don't believe them. But on reflection, I think the reason I don't believe them is the word 'work' for me refers to things I hate to do (sit in meetings, read contracts, pore over administrative minutia) and I have a limited tolerance for those things.
The things I love (virtually every part of the editorial process of putting out a magazine as well as big-picture strategy, etc.) don't count as work. Nearly every night, I carry home armloads of books that have been mailed to our offices and read through them in search of story items; that also isn't work. When I'm not doing that, I'm usually thumbing through magazines or talking with people who, more often than not, are somehow associated with Worthwhile. I don't call that work, either. But by that measure, I easily work 80 hours a week.
When I have to spend more than two or three hours a day doing stuff I hate and am not particularly good at, I find it totally ruins me for the things I am best at and should be spending my time on. Indeed, Margaret Heffernan, in the July/August issue of Worthwhile (on newsstands in the next couple of weeks) makes a strong case that that kind of work, while often glorified, is in fact, terrible for us personally and bad for business in general.