A definition of work

Posted by in Productivity

A definition of work

If I say ‘work’, what’s the first thing that crosses your mind? Likely, you associate it with the place where you spend most of your waking hours, generating value which allows you to survive. Work, however, extends far beyond than just that.


Work at work


At work – or perhaps I should say, at the office – work is easy to spot. It’s clearly labelled, structured and measured. There are individual and collaborative actions, commitments and outcomes, and with a little luck: accountability. Those are some of the distinct advantages of ‘work’; it has clearly defined, tangible boundaries. Most people even show up at certain locations to conduct it, within allotted hours – all of which generates what one would call a work mindset.


To many, that’s where work ends.


Work at home


Except that it doesn’t – even if we might like it to. At home, many of us shy away from work. After all, we’ve been working all day and, frankly, would like some well-deserved time off, thank you very much. However, there are things that need to be done. They’re not work, but they’re still things that we need to execute upon, unless we – and/or others with whom we share a physical location for a certain amount of hours per day – must stand accountable for what we have or haven’t done. It’s not work, though. Right?

I don’t have to tell you where this is going.


Work is pervasive


As it happens, most everything is work when you examine it closer. That’s not a bad thing, though: au contraire, applying the perspective of work towards everything you do will allow every action you take to become a stepping stone towards what or where you would like to be.


The recipe goes as such: clarify everything that you have or want to do in your life into discrete, precise outcomes – that is, a description of what will come to be when something has been achieved. Then, determine the required steps to achieve your outcomes, and prioritize them according to effect. If there is someone you rely on, I strongly recommend including them in the process. Then execute on your priorities, and most important of all: hold yourself – or yourselves – accountable.


In doing this, work is defined simply as the required steps to achieve any outcome that you have committed yourself to, either directly or indirectly – in life in general.