"Shlep" or "Schlep" is a Yiddish word, literally meaning "to drag", but has a number of acquired meanings besides. As in English, where the word "drag" in its noun form ("a drag") has acquired the connotation of a nuisance or a chore, etc., shlep has a definite connotation of undesirable effort. I've heard it used two ways in this meaning - as a noun and as a verb. Shlep as a noun is almost directly equivalent to "a drag" or "a bit of an effort":

"Shall we make some dinner?
"Bit of a shlep. Let's get a pizza instead."

On top of this usage, shlep can also be used as a verb, meaning to do something that involves an undesirable or unpleasant effort, invariably involving going from one place to another:

"I've ordered a pizza, but they don't deliver. We'll have to shlep it all the way down there to pick it up."

As far as I can tell, shlep in this form is only used to describe exhausting and tedious movement. I've never heard shlep used as a verb to describe effort alone. If I were working hard all night on an essay, I would not say "I've been up all night shlepping" (which sounds a bit dubious, anyway).
There is a final usage I've heard which strikes me as being most probably a corruption of "shlep" and quite probably a very localised bit of slang, but worth including anyway - "shlepped", meaning to be exhausted or tired from great expenditure of effort (any kind):

"Pass me a beer, I'm shlepped."

Finally, here are a couple of other examples of how shlep might be used conversationally:

"You're late!"
"Late?! I've shlepped it all the way down here and that's all you can say?"

"I found out I had to attribute every quote, so I've been going over the paper all afternoon looking up the appropriate references."
"God, sounds like quite the shlep."

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.