Arguing Against Perennial Busyness

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A mistake is being made by our society, according to Ed Smith at the New Statesman, that those in the workforce are expected to be constantly busy. Workers spend a majority of their days seeming busy and trying to meet a quota of busyness:

“Watch carefully the next time someone rushes purposefully past you in the office corridor, shielded from eye contact by the ubiquitous smartphone, radiating the carefully honed “Can’t stop, too busy” expression so characteristic of corporate ambition. They are not rushing to arrive somewhere, still less to achieve anything. They are rushing because rushing is how they display how hard they work.”

Smith believes that shorter periods of work would allow workers to be more productive, rather than extended hours of supposed productivity:

“When you are performing near your limits, you use up your psychological resources very quickly. The obvious point follows: stopping practising at the right moment is a vital form of self-discipline, every bit as important as “putting the hours in” and “giving it your all”. There is an optimal amount of work.”


Jack Taylor is a Rumpus Intern, gangly fellow, and Steal the Bacon enthusiast. More from this author →