Quora: Brigid Schulte

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Media Outlet: Quora

Brigid Schulte answered questions on work-life integration, work effectiveness, and gender for Quora. 

Why are people today so proud of being constantly busy? Is this a good thing?

When I first began reporting on time pressure, and that feeling of being on the never-ending gerbil wheel of too much to do and never enough time to get to it - an existential state of being I call The Overwhelm - I initially thought that maybe being a journalist in Washington, DC had something to do with it. But I went to Fargo, North Dakota, where a researcher there has been studying the annual Holiday letters of people, mostly in the Midwest, that have increasingly become not just the typical brag sheets, but brag sheets about how crazy busy people are.
It’s almost as if being busy now is not just a status symbol, but a clear sign that we measure up, we fit in with the “in” crowd, we’re worthy and important. The reasons are myriad about why we’ve gotten so busy - from technology creating a faster pace of life, rising costs and stagnating wages for many, work that’s become more complicated with fewer people to do it, changing and confusing gender roles to name just a few.


Brigid Schulte is the director of the Better Life Lab at New America. Schulte is an award-winning journalist and author, who writes widely for publications including the Washington Post, Slate, Time,  the Guardian, and others. Her book on time pressure, gender roles and modern life, Overwhelmed, Work, Love and Play when No One has the Time, was a New York Times bestseller.