The following is a guest post by Laura Vanderkam, author of “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think” and “Grindhopping: Build a Rewarding Career without Paying Your Dues.” She is a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors. This piece originally appeared on her blog. The opinions expressed are her own.
In “168 Hours,” I talk about trying to distinguish between “work” and “not-really-work.” Work means activities that are advancing you toward your career goals. I like this definition, because it forces us to examine how we spend our hours closely.
We do plenty of things at work that are not-really-work, even if they look like it. A meeting that you didn’t need to attend, or that went on long past the point of diminishing returns is, by this definition, disguised and ineffective leisure time. On the other hand, coffee with a friend, during which you discuss your career plans, is work.
Of course, few things are ever black and white, and social media inhabits that great gray area. I have had an active Twitter presence for about 6 months. It is insanely addictive; I’d estimate that I check it several times a day. As someone who is trying to market a product (a book), I like the idea of being able to casually reach many people, without all the infrastructure involved in maintaining an email newsletter or an actual postal mailing list (so retro!).
But is Twitter work? If I’m tracking my 168 hours, should it be work or leisure?