It's often hard for me to tell whether I'm working or playing.
I was thinking about that this morning because Rob Gordon asked a question about working on weekends on Google Plus.
What? You aren't on Google Plus yet? I'm not even going to take the time to chastise you - just stop being silly and come join me there! If you can't join automatically, let me know and I will send you an invitation.
Of course I work weekends. Sometimes, often, always.. I don't know, because it's really hard for me to decide whether I'm working or not.
Which is which?
Let's just take writing this as an example. It is Sunday morning as I tap the keys that will end up forming this post. My wife is still in bed and I have done some household chores in between reading news and poking around Google Plus. Already things are a bit fuzzy - some of the things I read on-line are work related or could be. But let that go - what about writing this? Is it work?
It certainly could be. I make money from this website - nothing even close to what I made before Google Panda, but it is money. I also make money from my Psst - wanna work for yourself? e-book, so writing this article certainly can be classified as "work". But - truth be told, I'd be writing it if I weren't making any money from the website or the book.
If you doubt that, consider that I created this website in 1997, which was six years before Google created the opportunity to make money from ads and that I didn't write that book until late 2008. Money is certainly a motivation, but I would be doing it anyway (and I have).
Why ignore inspiration?
If your business involves creativity and inspiration, why would you not work when the mood strikes?
If my curiosity is piqued by some idea that could be valuable to my business, why would I not pursue that right then, no matter what day it is?
Sure, some things can be put off. But for me, ideas sometimes are not smoldering embers that can be fanned into life later. The fire is now, and banking it down for latter use would be difficult. I'll run with it then and see where it goes.
And again, that's often fun, too. I might go play with a new version of Perl just because I'm interested in playing with it. That playing might have value to my business or it might not. The value may come much later in unexpected ways, or it may never come at all. Is that work or play? I do not know.
It's mostly about choice (and flex-time)
Some of my work is paid by the hour and some is part of yearly or monthly contracts. That's very definitely "working", even if it also be quite enjoyable (as it often is). I might very well choose to do some of that work on a weekend.
Why? Well, maybe it's raining today or too hot to work outside but I do have some yard work I need to get to. Why not do some of that paid work today so that I can do the yard work on a better day?
Or maybe we want to take a trip out to the Berkshires or wherever. We can go whenever we like - maybe Wednesday is the best day. Maybe the place we want to go has less crowds on Mondays - I'll gladly trade some weekend hours for that.
For me, working on weekends is about being able to choose when I work, not how much I work. I honestly could not say with any confidence how much I work, but I do know that I almost always work when I want to and (more importantly) do NOT work when I don't want to.
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