The Cult of Busy
Three years ago, physicists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Colorado announced that they had successfully invented the most accurate clock in the history of the world. Ten billion times more exact than a quartz wristwatch, their atomic clock used lasers and atoms to measure time with such incredible precision that it would lose a mere second over the next 50.8 billion years. Their invention was quickly lauded as the apex of a long-held human endeavor: mastering timekeeping.
That atomic clock may not lose a second in the foreseeable future, but we humans feel like we’re sloughing off seconds at an alarming clip. More than one-third of Americans say they don’t have enough time in their day to get things done. Work hours bleeding into home life and a prevailing belief that we need to do it all and do it well have created a feeling of constant activity. Gallup polls show that our hectic schedules correlate with a precipitous increase in anxiety. The majority of Americans who report not having enough spare time also say they battle stress. You likely don’t need studies and surveys to convince you we’re a time-starved culture. Simply ask someone how he or she is doing and the likely response is, “I’m busy.”
Johns Hopkins Health Review, Spring 2016.
May 29, 2016