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Life Lessons: The myth of busyness

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A recent poll found 61 percent of working Americans said they didn’t have enough time to do the things they wanted to do. Are we really busier than ever or is busyness just a myth?

Work, school, kids, chores, errands, social events, life can get hectic!

But you might think you’re busier than you actually are. One study found people who estimated that they worked a 75-plus-hour work week were off by about 25 hours. In fact, the average full-time work week is just 42 hours. A recent survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also found Americans are sleeping longer. The average adult gets over eight hours of sleep each day.

So how can you combat that feeling of busyness? Experts say make a time log. Track every hour of the day and then add up how much time you spend working, sleeping, exercising, socializing, or relaxing each week. You may have more free time than you think. Also, try the five-item checklist. This will help you narrow down the five most important things you need to do each day, so you can free up time for what you really want to do. And stop “busy bragging.” Instead of saying “I’m too busy for that” you might want to say “that’s not a priority for me right now.”

Complaining about being busy may also be a way to gain status. Researchers from Harvard and Columbia conducted an experiment and found participants associated “busyness” with a higher social status. This is in stark contrast to ideas held in the late 1800s, when living a leisurely lifestyle was thought to reflect a higher social status. 

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