Work, Love and Play When No One Has the TimeBook - 2014
Can working parents ever find true leisure time?
According to the Leisure Studies Department at the University of Iowa, true leisure is "that place in which we realize our humanity." If that's true, argues Brigid Schulte, then we're doing dangerously little realizing of our humanity. In Overwhelmed, Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, asks: Are our brains, our partners, our culture and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but "contaminated time"?
Schulte first asked this question in a 2010 feature for The Washington Post Magazine: "How did researchers compile this statistic that said we were rolling in leisure--over four hours a day? Did any of us feel that we actually had downtime? Was there anything useful in their research--anything we could do?"
Overwhelmed is a map of the stresses that have ripped our leisure to shreds, and a look at how to put the pieces back together. Schulte speaks to neuroscientists, sociologists and hundreds of working parents to tease out the factors contributing to our collective sense of being overwhelmed, seeking insights, answers and inspiration. She investigates progressive offices that are trying to invent a new kind of workplace; she travels across Europe to get a sense of how other countries accommodate working parents; she finds younger couples who claim to have figured out an ideal division of chores, childcare and meaningful paid work. Overwhelmed is the story of what she found out.
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What often matters more than the activity we're doing at a moment in time is how we feel about it.
"I think all of the strategies for us to cram more stuff into our calendar is really not the answer; it's figuring out what's important to you and making time to do what's most important first. ... That to-do list will never go away. If you have this if-then mentality, you'll never get to "then." I have trashed the to-do list to help my brain. I do get it all out. I write it all down because then it gives me mental peace ... but right now I try to do one thing a day and if I can do it, that's great. ... And I also give myself permission not to do it." http://www.npr.org/2014/03/11/289018821/for-working-moms-key-to-balance-may-lie-in-elusive-leisure-time
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