Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On being "busy"

A commentary in the New York Times ("The 'Busy' Trap") notes that people in New York typically reply to "How are you?" by saying they are very busy, apparently complaining but really bragging, implying their work--and life--is important.  This is perhaps even more the case in Hong Kong, where people have taken the time saved by having domestic helpers and invested it in more work rather than leisure. Plus, since Hong Kong professionals often travel in the region for their work, appointments for professional and social purposes need to be scheduled weeks and even months in advance.  The writer of the NY Times piece--who is a professional writer--makes many important points, including that he needs to work less in order to be able to get more done.  His practice of writing for about five hours a day and taking the rest of the time to visit friends and do other things is good advice for students writing a thesis. I feel many students writing a thesis chain themselves to their desk, but then rather than write, they check (and post on) Facebook and read blogs.  They then feel guilty and spend more time in front of their computer, unproductively.  I highly recommend the article to all students, not just the loafers, but the most ambitious ones too.  I, of course, am too busy to follow his advice....

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