Work = suffering?

I’ve just started the first chapter of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Immediately it strikes me as very Zen – it’s all about hyper-organization for the purpose of clearing one’s head so that one can more easily achieve flow at work, whatever that work may be. I get that, and I’m interested.

One thing struck me as amusing. David Allen says that ‘work is whatever we want or need to be different than it actually is.’ And Buddhism suggests that ‘suffering comes from wanting things to be different than they actually are.’

Is work therefore equal to suffering? Sometimes I think it is, but other times, work is effortless, when you crank on something for hours and then suddenly look up and notice that it’s 5:00. This is the best way to work – without distractions, totally focused and in the zone. That’s Zen, and it’s definitely not suffering – it’s more like joy.

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