Given I find myself talking about “busy” a lot, one conversation I find myself and others often discussing is “Are we busier than previous generations?” It is an interesting question, that one. Do we simply feel busier because technology blurs the lines between work and home? Does the media sell that we are oh, so much busier than our parents, because it is an easy attention-grabbing topic, so we ultimately begin to believe it?
Did you know that in 1930, John Maynard Keyes predicted that each generation would work less than the last and by 2030, the average person would only work 15 hours a day? Well, we can say with certainty that is not our reality. So what is?
Many groups have researched this topic and found it does not appear we actually have more to do than previous generations but we FEEL busier for a few reasons:
- Daily digital device time is drastically up since 2000, which takes away from time to do other things.
- Thanks to technology we are more efficient and can complete more. That does not necessarily mean we have more to do, or are multi-tasking more, but are simply getting more done because of the tools we have at hand to help. This can start to feel overwhelming over time and social pressures often make us feel even this is not enough!
- With an increase in dual working families, the windows of time many families have to complete household and life “to do’s” is much smaller which puts additional stress on all!
All in all, I think feeling busier is as real as being busier as we simply have new social and technical channels in place affecting us. We have a different kind of busy than our parents.
So what can we do? 1) Put a limit on your daily Insta updates and Facebook scrolling – just like we give our kids screen time limits, set one for yourself. You will feel less busy rather quickly when you discover this extra time. 2) Take advantage of technology helping complete tasks – but catch yourself adding more and more to each day because of this. Instead of starting another “to do” on a Saturday afternoon, grab a book or go for a walk for a few. 3) And of course, never forget – wise women (and men!) ask for help.