Elizabeth Kolbert:

A second theory that Schulte considers is that “the overwhelm” is a function not so much of how many things Americans have to do but of how much time they spend thinking about how many things they have to do. A doctor who’s running through the list of groceries she needs to pick up on the way home is not actually any busier than one who’s concentrating on the task at hand, but she may feel more beleaguered. Conversely, a lawyer playing with his kids is technically at leisure, but if all the while he’s checking his phone for texts from the office he may feel that he hasn’t had any time off. Schulte terms this the “mental tape-loop phenomenon,” and she argues that it’s sapping our precious energies, so that we can’t even “decide what to think about, worrying about home stuff at work and work stuff at home.”

Posted by Ben Brooks