The resources on this page have been collected and curated to serve as further knowledge-gathering, approaches, and inspiration for our collective and individual relationship to busyness.
- How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy
-Artist and critic meditates on all the factors which draw our attention every which way. She talks about how this affects our relationships with ourselves and our world.
- To Hell with the Hustle: Reclaiming Your Life in an Overworked, Overspent, and Overconnected World
-Bethke is straightforward and to the point about the effects of busyness culture on our day-to-day. The book is meant as a wake-up call to make new boundaries with “hustle culture” and slow down.
- The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to stay emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in the chaos of the modern world
John Mark Comer
-As a pastor and author, Comer muses on the emotional and spiritual emptiness which results from giving too much to busyness culture.
- Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life
-You may have heard of Ms. Kondo’s advice on how to declutter our homes and surround ourselves with belongings that aid in our well-being. She takes the same minimalist, mindful approach to what surrounds us at work in this follow-up book.
- Stillness is the Key: An Ancient Strategy for Modern Life (The Way, the Enemy and the Key)
-A philosopher takes study of a range of notable historical figures and how they found stillness to be a key factor in their full lives. With suggestions for how to implement their methods in our modern day.
- It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
-Two company entrepreneurs go over the proof that burnout culture is bad for workers and for companies. They suggest and encourage a new vision for how work culture could be if we made a few shifts in priorities.
- In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed
-An exploration of the growing momentum in the “Slow Movement” happening across cultures and countries.
- Life Balance: A Journal of Self-Discovery
-A thorough tool to learn to manage our time and our responsibilities better. Full of exercises and writing prompts.
- The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own
-A proponent of a more minimalist lifestyle, Becker goes through how possessions and our relationships to them can create more work for us than they need to be, and how to take steps to create a simpler life.
- The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life
Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness
-Backed by research, this book delves into how to smartly cultivate and use the positive aspects of passion to create a successful life.
- Overwhelmed: Work, Love, And Play When No One Has The Time
-A researched look at how pressure and busyness culture have reshaped how our brains perceive time. Seeks to explain where the obsession with busyness comes from and makes use of modern-day examples, trials, and studies.
- Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life
Ashley V. Whillans
-This book takes a comprehensive look at what it means to be “time-poor,” a state of being which can cause more stress than unemployment. The author offers proven strategies to both identify time scarcity in our lives and turn the tables to feel more in control of our time.
- The Wisdom of Insecurity
-Taking guidance from Eastern philosophy and religion, Watts delves into how modern-day Western cultures ask us to predict and prepare for everything in life. The pressure to get and stay ahead keeps us from appreciating our lives as we live them.
- How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom
-We all know we’re supposed to live the “Good Life,” but many of us are overwhelmed about how to get there. The author provides an approachable guide through different philosophies and masters from all over the world about what can help us reconnect with our sense of purpose.
- The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
-Keller and Papasan seek to help the reader identify their ONE thing. Their success story. Their skill. Their mindset.
- Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials
-Generational stereotypes are often rife with misconceptions. Harris takes a deep dive into what is behind why Millenials have been so poorly mischaracterized.
- Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era
Alison Rose Jefferson
-Jefferson takes us through a historical movement often overlooked: the building of leisure time and spaces in American life by African American communities in Southern California in the early 1900’s.
- The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline Of Leisure
Juliet B Schor
-Goes over why the U.S. is one of the few industrialized Western countries which puts money first rather than time.
- Leisure in a Changing America: Trends and Issues for the Twenty-First Century
-Read about present-day trends, tribulations, and predictions concerning the leisure industry in the US.
- Leisure: The Basis of Culture
-A seminal philosophical work speaking on the importance of leisure time to develop and maintain culture. The art of doing nothing may be crucial to a thriving society.
- A Social History of Leisure Since 1600
Gary S. Cross
-Written as an introductory textbook, Cross covers the basic theoretical frameworks surrounding the studying of leisure in history.
- Histories of Leisure
-A history book specifically tackling the growth of leisure culture in the US and Europe following the US and French Revolutions up to the present day. Another beginner textbook to get a grasp on leisure studies basics in the West.
- The Theory of the Leisure Class
Thorstein Veblen, edited by Martha Banta
-Known as a “scathing” unveiling of the practices of the leisure classes in the US as a historical study.
- The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need
Juliet B. Schor
-Schor dives into the reasons the US has such an influential consumer culture, but avoids blaming the consumers for their lack of discipline.
- The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap
Alvin Rosenfeld, M.D., Nicole Wise, and Robert Coles, M.D.
-As the title suggests, the book goes over how the expectation of perfection creates unhealthy dynamics between parents and children and sets children up to be cogs in the busyness culture machine.
- The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity
-An epidemiologist looks at the health effects of status and affluence. It isn’t all doom and gloom, but more of a hopeful outlook on how understanding the effects of inequality will mean we can solve or mitigate their influence.
- Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much
-A business psychologist presents a three-step approach to unraveling one of modern life’s troubles: being too busy.
- 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done
-Personal stories coupled with case studies are included in an inviting book that promises to help us cut through the mundane responsibilities of busyness culture and get to work in 18 minutes.
- The Time Paradox
Philip Zimbardo & John Boyd
-The authors explore how our perception of time determines many different aspects of our lives in ways we may not have considered.
- The McDonaldization of Society
-A staple in sociology for decades, Ritzer’s text analyzes the effects of prioritizing efficiency and profits over individuality on culture on the individual and global level.
- Action versus Contemplation: Why an Ancient Debate Still Matters
Jennifer Summit and Blakey Vermeule
-It is an ancient question: to make money or to make art? To get a career or to study the humanities? The authors of this book tie these old questions back to our modern-day back and forth about what is practical about contemplation and what is meaningful about being busy? Can the two ideas coexist?
- Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America
John de Graaf
-Gives a range of relevant field experts’ concerns about the effects of time famine and proposes ideas of how to counter it on the individual level.
- Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing
-We are a culture of indecision and constant overwhelm of the latest and greatest in technology and entertainment. Davis talks both about the nature of this “browsing” culture as well as the responding counter-culture which aims to inspire focus and an old-fashioned sense of commitment to passions, careers, and causes.
- Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots
-An anthropological take on the history of work throughout the world.
Taking Time: Articles written by people who have been asked to consider time and how we value it.
The Nap Ministry: Run by activist, artist, and writer, Tricia Hersey, the Nap Ministry is a blog, a book, and a social media presence that discusses rest as resistance and a tool of community healing.
‘Hustle culture’ is rooted in white supremacy and it’s time to put it to rest: An article summarizing the rise of hustle culture and it’s relationship to the Black community.
If you’re working while on vacation this summer, this column is for you: Musings on what a post-COVID-19-quarantine work/life balance could look like regarding work boundaries.
How to be more productive by working less: Author of, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, writes about how more time working doesn’t always mean more work gets completed.
Why Do We Glorify the Cult of Burnout and Overwork?: Despite understanding the negative effects of overwork, it is still glorified as how to get ahead around the world. This article goes into the origins of this culture and why it may not be changing anytime soon.
Hustle Culture: a Disabled Student’s View: A disabled student outlines their struggles to meet expectations of busyness that may not be obvious to non-disabled people.
Overwhelmed? Take an audit of your brain’s real estate: When we are stressed, sometimes our brains like to tell us the solution is doing more. This article’s author provides a different strategy to help our brains calm down a bit when the pressure is on.
Improving work-life balance: Is there such a thing as business hours anymore?: The ability to work from home gave newly remote workers more freedom than ever over their schedules. But now the freedom is causing more stress and burnout than having regular business hours.
Busy (and reliable): A short and simple blog post advising to focus on reliability rather than busyness to achieve success.
3 Key Mindset shifts that made me a significantly happier person: The author tells a story about how they found the three mindsets (related to boundaries) which made them have a much more positive outlook on life.
The App that Monetized Doing Nothing: The story of how the wildly successful wellness app, Calm, came into being.
How to Stop Living in ‘Infinite Browsing’ Mode: An interview with the author of Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing, Pete Davis.
The best time management advice is depressing but liberating: An interview with the author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, Oliver Burkeman.
The Health Hazards of Overworking: A short summary of a 2020 World Health Organization analysis revealing the negative health effects of working more than 55 hours per week.
Delete THAT app: A sure-fire way to take back time for ourselves is to delete the app we use the most.
Efficiency is the enemy: This article thoroughly goes over the usefulness of having “slack” in our daily routines.
What is your time really worth to you? (Interactive Thought Experiment/Calculator): A quiz to visually determine where we are putting our time and thus what we value.
Stop spending time on things you hate: Why do we do things we know we might regret later? Or that we don’t even like doing? The article delves into the mechanisms our brain is using when we are making these decisions.
The Virtue of Boredom: Mark Manson, creator of the website, “Life Advice that Doesn’t Suck,” goes over the three reasons boredom is good for us.
Clock Time vs. Horticulture Time: An inspirational comic.
Why Time Management Won’t Solve Your Time Problems: 9 ways we can handle having too much to do that don’t involve hustling harder.
Is there an antidote to ‘digital intensity’?: A look at the extra stress on our minds being caused by increased screen time specifically for work purposes during the pandemic.
What your calendar says about your values: A blog post suggesting a method called, “time blocking,” to help create space to pursue our goals and balance our priorities.
Make time for “Me time:” A simple breakdown of how to create boundaries in our lives to include time for ourselves and our well-being.
Feeling Overworked? You’re Not Alone: This article goes over how to identify if we’re being overworked and provides seven suggestions to reduce work stress.
Grind Culture: Defines and discusses “grind,” or hustle culture, and how it may have turned us into an individualistic society.
Stop the Grind: A Realistic Solution to Halt Hustle Culture: Another discussion of grind culture, but this time looking more at it’s origins and what companies need to do to address it in their workforce.
Fight Hustle, End Hurry: Authors, John Mark Comer & Jefferson Bethke, discuss several topics related to hustle culture and its pull on our lives and specifically their relationships to Christianity. We found episodes 1, 2, 6, and 9 particularly enlightening!
Do You Want to Slow Down?: The Science of Happiness podcast sits down with Anna Sale for an episode. She summarizes her methods of “experience of awe” as an antidote for anxiety. The episode is under 20 minutes long, so it’s not much of a commitment!
Productivity and How Capitalism Commodifies Time: The Overthink Podcast features two professors who discuss the intersections between philosophy and culture. In Productivity, they specifically cover the paradoxical nature between the obsession wth busyness and busyness being really unproductive. In How Capitalism Commodifies Time, they touch on the blurring of our identities as individuals and as workers and how COVID-19 may be changing those boundaries for some.
Learning to Let Go: An episode of Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson. The episode focuses on how to determine where the line is between jumping ship too quickly on something worthwhile vs hanging on to something that stopped serving us long ago.
The Art of Effortless Results, How to Take the Lighter Path, the Joys of Simplicity, and More: A conversation with Greg McKeown, author of Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most and a previous book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.
We are all busy! Below are a collection of videos that cover various topics we’ve discussed throughout Busyness. They may be easier to peruse and explore on the run than reading the books and articles listed above. They give a basic overview of the ways Busyness is being studied, presented, and problem-solved in many disciplines.
In Praise of Slowness
MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld talks about the world’s obsession with being “speedy,” despite the negative side effects. The antidote may be the growing Slow Movement.
A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success
Alain de Botton takes a look at assumptions surrounding our definition of “success” today and how it is making us miserable. He offers thoughtful reflections on how to change our approach.
The Lies Our Culture Tells Us About What Matters
Op-ed columnist and author David Brooks talks about how our society is in a “valley” or a slump in terms of relational connections. He insists we would find more meaning and happiness if we focused on creating deeper connections with the people around us.
The Busy Identity
Lexie Harvey describes how busyness has become the measure of “success.” The less free time someone has, the more important/successful they must be. She challenges her audience to incorporate rest and a sense of self outside of being busy.
The Cult of Busyness
Ian Price gives a short breakdown of how the changes in technology have given us more ease, but also more access to everything all the time. It is overwhelming and creates problems with our ability to differentiate between what is important and what is just in front of us.
Why You Will Fail to have a Great Career
In a more inspirational speech than a lecture, Professor Larry Smith goes over both personal obstacles and structural obstacles getting in the way of a “great career.”
Embrace the Near Win
Art historian Sarah Lewis muses on the connection as well as the difference between mastery and success. Using examples from the art world, she discusses how near wins are ultimately tied to our pursuit of success and may hold more value than we realize.
How to Find Work You Love
Scott Dinsmore shares his personal story about quitting a respectable job to begin his journey searching for work that brought him joy. In this short talk, he both shares what he learned and gives tips on how to get started.
5 Ways to Kill Your Dreams
Brazilian entrepreneur Bel Pesce explains 5 common myths which act to sabotage our ability to pursue our dreams.
The Fallacy of the Work/Life Balance
Michael Walters gives the advice to try not to search for balance. There are 4 transformative results of a holistic thought process: Grace, Awareness, Momentum, and Empowerment.
An ER Doctor on Triaging Your “Crazy Busy” Life
Darria Long thinks we can all approach stress the way she approaches it at work in the ER. She calls it going from “crazy mode” to “ready mode.”
How to Turn Busy into Balance
Sara Cameron, M.A. thinks being busy is a choice, and we’re making this choice based on bad information. Balance makes us more fulfilled, and allows for the important process of integration.
The True Cost of Being Too Busy
Debbie Hayes explains how our busy-focused lives have eaten away our close connections. The line between work and self is blurred and we are losing more than we may think because of it.
How Busyness Affects Your Productivity
The research says the busier we are the less productive we may actually be. Professor Keith Wilcox goes over some of the paradoxical relationships we have with busyness in connection to his research.
The Science of Productivity
What methods work best to keep us on track?
Additional Videos to Check Out:
How cognitive surplus will change the world: How online worlds have created resources we can tap into in times of need.
How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas: There is unexpected importance to spacing out.
How to gain control of your free time: Time management expert gives advice on how to “build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.”
Why should you read “One Hundred Years of Solitude”?: A story about the cyclical nature of systemic issues, and how hope in a better future is the way forward to create change. How might this lesson tie in to how we can approach our busyness culture?
The refugees of boom-and-bust: An individualistic focus on the rewards of busyness (profits, “success”) vs the impact on people who are part of achieving those rewards.
This is what makes employees happy at work: The benefits of keeping employees happy are irrefutable, and the path to achieving employee contentment is cheaper for companies than we think.
How to buy happiness: Intriguing research on how money can buy happiness, but not in the way we may expect.
Why we need to rethink capitalism: Capitalism’s biggest fan thinks it needs to be reigned in to serve more than individualistic purposes.
To save the climate, we have to reimagine capitalism: An economist explains the ties between unchecked capitalism and impending climate disasters globally.
The dirty secret of capitalism — and a new way forward: There are theories and economic models other than capitalism that can be just as effective at creating growth and equity.
The US needs paid family leave — for the sake of its future: The policy focus on getting people who give birth back to work as soon as possible has overlooked the consequences on the health and well-being of the new parents.
Why work doesn’t happen at work: What could make working at the office a more productive endeavor?
How burnout makes us less creative: Contrary to common belief, obsessing over productivity can hinder our ability to be efficient and creative. Instead, downtime may be key to getting creative work done.
The happy secret to better work: Success being the key to happiness is actually backward. What happens when we prioritize happiness over success?
3 steps to stop remote work burnout: How can we protect our energy while working from home to create better boundaries between ourselves and our work?
Why students should have mental health days: Happiness first and wellness practices aren’t exclusively beneficial for adults.
The new American Dream: For the first time in the US, parents don’t think their kids will be “better off” than they were. Is this a reflection of the failure of the American Dream or an opportunity to create a new type of dream for communities?
After Long Busyness
I start out for a walk at last after weeks at the desk.
Moon gone, plowing underfoot, no stars, not a trace of light!
Suppose a horse were galloping toward me in this open field?
Every day I did not spend in solitude was wasted.
Busy Day at the Office
This is a day when I covered no ground.
Just pushed and shuffled my papers around,
Nudged at letters and winced at bills,
Sorting them out into different hills,
Hunted fretfully for a ruler,
Worried the overworked water cooler,
Sharpened pencils and filled my pen,
Then shuffled my papers around again.
What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.
(No. 1 of ‘Four Quartets’-click linked title to view full poem)
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
Sorry I’m Busy | The Harlameighs
Takin’ Care of Business | Bachman Turner Overdrive
Too Much Monkey Business, Buck Cherry
Have More Time, Marvin Smith
Work to Do, Average White Band
Coming Around Again, Carly Simon
It Was Supposed to be Easy, The Streets
Matthew and Son, Cat Stevens
Got the Time, Joe Jackson
Government Center, The Modern Lovers
20 Million Things to Do, Lowell George