Our resident workaholic, Tim Bowen, works wonders with his discussion of the idioms relating to this word.
A quick look at a list of expressions containing the word work reveals that in a large number of them work is seen as something arduous, even unpleasant. If you have a difficult job to do or a complicated task to perform, you will have your work cut out. You may even work your fingers to the bone if the job is particularly hard.
In British English hard work might mean that you work your socks off, while in American English you wouldn’t work your socks off, you would work your butt off. Monotonous, physical work can be described as donkey work and you might have to work like a dog to do it. If you over-complicate a task or take longer than necessary to do it, you can say that you are making hard work of it. If, on the other hand, you manage to do it easily, you can say that you made short or quick or light work of it.
All this effort might mean that you work up a sweat (become physically tired) and you would probably work up an appetite (become hungry) too. Remember though that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so don’t be a workaholic – don’t work too hard and take regular breaks because taking a break can work wonders. Some of your ideas might work a treat (be very successful), but if they don't work out, you can always look at the example of those professional footballers who get paid £100,000 a week for kicking a ball around – Nice work if you can get it!