The malaise of busyness and a 30-second antidote

By Martin Vogel

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People are busy talking about being busy.

Take, for example, Oliver Burkeman, who has identified a new social malaise of busy-bragging. This seems to be a function of people’s need to derive status from how hard they are working.

I always try to bring scepticism to the idea of busyness as a status symbol. In my experience, when people complain of being too busy, they really don’t like it. But Lucy Kellaway has unearthed data that suggests we’re all busy overestimating how hard we work and it is precisely those who occupy high-status positions who are most prone to bigging up their busyness:

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