Work is gas. Work will fill any given volume. If you give me two hours, I will take two hours. If you give me 10 minutes, I will take 10 minutes. So if you give somebody two weeks to do a project, he’s going to start on day 12 and it will take him two days, but the two weeks will be filled because work expands like gas. Straightforward physics.
I love the little statue of the girl in the Peter Pan pose. And I resent that she’s a marketing tool. I love that she actually IS inspiring to young women and girls. And I resent that she’s a fraud. I love that she exists. And I resent the reasons she was created.
I wasn’t aware of the marketing aspect to Fearless Girl until I read this article. And I wonder how many others are just as unaware as I was.
Real work or real artistry doesn’t happen by reading quotes on social media. It happens when you actually do the work (which requires social media to be turned off).
(And yet clipping quotes from things I read is one of the most rewarding little activities I have going.)
Unless all this productivity is making us all exponentially happier or more fulfilled, it just feels like we’re working our asses off to work our asses off more. Without some bigger purpose or grander goal, like getting work done faster to spend more time not working, it feels like a hamster wheel of working more to work more to spend more so we need to work more.
Empathy depends on your ability to overcome your own perspective, appreciate someone else’s, and step into their shoes. Self-control is essentially the same skill, except that those other shoes belong to your future self—a removed and hypothetical entity who might as well be a different person. So think of self-control as a kind of temporal selflessness. It’s Present You taking a hit to help out Future You.
Yet as the historian Ruth Cowan demonstrates in her 1983 book More Work for Mother, the result, for much of the 20th century, was not an increase in leisure time among those charged with doing the housework. Instead, as the efficiency of housework increased, so did the standards of cleanliness and domestic order that society came to expect. Now that the living-room carpet could be kept perfectly clean, it had to be; now that clothes never needed to be grubby, grubbiness was all the more taboo. These days, you can answer work emails in bed at midnight. So should that message you got at 5.30pm really wait till morning for a reply?
A particularly relevant read as we roll into January. It’s a month of declaring resolutions and setting goals for self-improvement – including time management and productivity, according to Google Trends.