The other day I cleaned off the top of my desk. This involved sorting the rubble into mounds that had something in common, and then dealing with each mound. There were bills to pay, records to update, forms to be completed, faxes to be sent, licenses to approve, documents to file, tax issues to unscramble, and on and on.
When I was done, my desk was breathtakingly clear of debris. Gazing at my uncharacteristically pristine work space, a peculiar joy came over me. As I walked from my office back to my home, I felt lighter. There was a bounce to my step. I’m reasonably sure my body was creating extra endorphins.
It made me wonder if other people get an actual physical pleasure from doing work, at least the kind where you accomplish something, no matter how unimportant. My guess is that people who work long hours get a sort of charge every time they complete a discrete task. People who don’t get that charge, on average, probably find jobs where they can work fewer hours.
I recall my corporate days, where I would spend eight hours refining a Powerpoint presentation that, in all likelihood, would have no impact on the business. I always felt a charge of pleasure when it was done. Each time I reviewed the beauty and majesty of my graphs and bullet points, I would get a new little surge.
I think the pleasure of completed work is what makes blogging so popular. You have to believe most bloggers have few if any actual readers. The writers are in it for other reasons. Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn. All you get is the pleasure of a completed task.
Do you get pleasure from completing relatively unimportant tasks? And if so, do you work more than 40 hours per week, including optional work such as blogging?