Not everything is worth doing.
Not everything is worth your time.
Not everything that says “Hey, I’m work! I’m important! Pay attention to me!” is telling the truth.
Ehhhm, summertime crafts? Not work. Now if you’re into crafts, and that’s something you want to do (with or without your kids), power to you. It’s your choice what you fill your free time with, and it should be stuff you enjoy.
But then there is busy work, details, things that feel like obligation or accomplishment but actually aren’t.
Chatting with the supervisor or the neighbors?
Organizing the company picnic?
Proofreading your co-workers report?
Listening to your friend’s play-by-play of a) ball game, b) family reunion, c) horrible blind date or d) doctor’s appointment?
You may have to give some time to that stuff – it’s part of life – but you don’t have to give much time to it. And it isn’t work. So don’t be fooled.
Work is different than hobby, free time, fun time, family time, and so on. Define what work is for you. Know your work so you can know what your work isn’t. Know your work so you can make work a priority. Know your work so you can take a break from it.
Creating is not difficult, necessarily. It’s not even time-consuming. When you’re really going, when you’re in the midst of creating, producing, you’re hardly slow. You’re moving at the right pace. You’re in the flow.
No, the difficult, time-consuming thing is to get past all the sludge, the details, the urgent, the unimportant, the obligations, the demands, the interruptions and get down to the real work.
For writers, this means butt-to-chair.
For sales people, this means phone-to-ear or feet-to-door to make those calls, make those connections, and make the sale. Doing the work means doing the Most Important Work. Julie Morgenstern, in her book Never Check E-mail in the Morning, calls it “dancing close to the revenue line.” Here’s her take on it:
…everything you spend your time on should be assessed in terms of its proximity to the revenue line. What is the revenue line? It’s the point at which your company is actually making or saving money. …Each company is built around either producing a product or delivering a service. …Which of the tasks on your to-do list are closest to your company’s revenue line? …The largest portion of your time should be spent on tasks that are, at most, only one or two steps from the revenue line.
What’s your real work? How will you give more time to it?