Skip to main content

How to Keep Time: Look Busy (The Atlantic)

If time is a luxury, why don’t we flaunt it?

In this podcast by Rebecca Rashid and Ian Bogost, Rashid talks to Melissa Mazmanian, a professor and Chancellor’s Fellow of informatics from UC Irvine who co-wrote a book in 2020 called Dreams of the Overworked: Living, Working, and Parenting in the Digital Age. Her research analyzes why American adults struggle with overwork and this unmanageable busyness that she says goes beyond just schedules.

. . .

Rashid: [Mazmanian] lays out three myths that motivate American adults to stay constantly occupied: the desire to be the ideal worker, have the perfect body, and be the perfect parent.

Bogost: Yeah, those are definitely dreams.

Mazmanian: In terms of the people that I’m studying, I will find that the people who buy in more tend to be more stressed and feel like more of a failure, right? So, the more that you feel like, “No, no, no, I actually should be able to be a perfect parent, and I should be able to run five to 10 miles a day, and I should be able to be seen as an ideal worker,”—the more you’re committed to that and unwilling to question what it looks like to be a good parent and a good worker in a healthy body—the harder it is. Because they are fundamentally impossible.

Read the full interview in The Atlantic.