Is the secret to not feeling busy just… not feeling busy?
That’s what a new book by reporter Brigid Schulte suggests. Per the review I read at Slate, the first problem is the feeling of “overwhelm”:
To be deep in the overwhelm requires not just doing too many things in one 24-hour period but doing so many different kinds of things that they all blend into each other and a day has no sense of distinct phases. Researchers call it “contaminated time,” and apparently women are more susceptible to it than men, because they have a harder time shutting down the tape that runs in their heads about what needs to get done that day. The only relief from the time pressure comes from cordoning off genuine stretches of free or leisure time, creating a sense of what Schulte calls “time serenity” or “flow.” But over the years, time use diaries show that women have become terrible at that, squeezing out any free time and instead, as Schulte puts it, resorting to “crappy bits of leisure time confetti.”
With the exceptions of my toddler-enforced weekend time off, I am definitely guilty of that, and I am guilty, too, of assuming that there’s no real hope for the weekdays. However, sociologist John Robinson (known as Father Time for his collection of time use diaries), would disagree. “The answer to feeling oppressively busy,” Slate‘s Hannah Rosin explains, “Is to stop telling yourself that you’re oppressively busy, because the truth is that we are all much less busy than we think we are.”
Which is almost certainly true. Have you tried to convince yourself that you’re not as busy as you think you are? Did it work?