# Highly Recommended 《New ！Hardcover Edition + How To Achieve the Perfect Work-Life Balance》Brigid Schulte - OVERWHELMED : How To Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time
★★ Named 1 of the Washington Post’s 50 Notable Nonfiction Books of the Year ★★ ★★ Named a Good Reads finalist for Best Business Book of 2014 ★★ This award-winning bestseller in hardcover edition is a bran-new book and still wrapped with new boom protective book-wrapper. The original new book is sold at usual price RM117.39. Now here Only at RM30. Can working parents in anywhere—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. Overwhelmed is a book about time pressure and modern life. It is a deeply reported and researched, honest and often hilarious journey from feeling that, as one character in the book said, time is like a "rabid lunatic" running naked and screaming as your life flies past you, It is a book to understanding the historical and cultural roots of the overwhelm, how worrying about all there is to do and the pressure of feeling like we're never have enough time to do it all, or do it well, is "contaminating" our experience of time, And how time pressure and stress is resculpting our brains and shaping our workplaces, our relationships and squeezing the space that the Greeks said was the point of living a Good Life: that elusive moment of peace called leisure. Author Brigid Schulte, an award-winning journalist for the Washington Post - and harried mother of two - began the journey quite by accident, after a time-use researcher insisted that she, like all American women, had 30 hours of leisure each week. Stunned, she accepted his challenge to keep a time diary and began a journey that would take her from the depths of what she described as the Time Confetti of her days to a conference in Paris with time researchers from around the world, to North Dakota, of all places, where academics are studying the modern love affair with busyness, to Yale, where neuroscientists are finding that feeling overwhelmed is actually shrinking our brains, to exploring new lawsuits uncovering unconscious bias in the workplace, why the US has no real family policy, and where states and cities are filling the federal vacuum. She spent time with mothers drawn to increasingly super intensive parenting standards, and mothers seeking to pull away from it. And she visited the walnut farm of the world's most eminent motherhood researcher, an evolutionary anthropologist, to ask, are mothers just "naturally" meant to be the primary parent? The answer will surprise you. Along the way, she was driven by two questions, ● Why are things the way they are? ● How can they be better? She found real world bright spots of innovative workplaces, couples seeking to shift and share the division of labor at home and work more equitably and traveled to Denmark, the happiest country on earth, where fathers - and mothers - have more pure leisure time than parents in other industrial countries. She devoured research about the science of play, why it's what makes us human, and the feminist leisure research that explains why it's so hard for women to allow themselves to. The answers she found are illuminating, perplexing and ultimately hopeful. In her attempts to juggle work and family life, Brigid Schulte has baked cakes until 2 a.m., frantically (but surreptitiously) sent important emails during school trips and then worked long into the night after her children were in bed. Realising she had become someone who constantly burst in late, trailing shoes and schoolbooks and biscuit crumbs, she began to question, like so many of us, whether it is possible to be anything you want to be, have a family and still have time to breathe. So when Schulte met an eminent sociologist who studies time and he told her she enjoyed thirty hours of leisure each week, she thought her head was going to pop off. What followed was a trip down the rabbit hole of busy-ness, a journey to discover why so many of us and it near-impossible to press the 'pause' button on life and what got us here in the first place. Here are some of Schulte's main points: ① Leisure and play are important. Human innovation depends on a spaciousness of time that lends itself to creativity. Individuals need to play to live a good life. ② People work best in short, focused chunks of time, and they don't always work best in an office. Workplaces that prioritize long hours and face time are not producing the best work, and overworked Americans are suffering from stress-related health issues. ③ Throughout history, men's focused work time has been protected by the wife or the secretary who picks up the pieces. Women have generally neither had leisure time, nor focused work time. ④ Working mothers in America today are particularly overwhelmed. They experience "role overload" and mental clutter. They strive to be perfect in all arenas and come up short. ⑤ In many straight partnerships, especially those with children, women take on the domestic sphere without question. It's critical that men become more involved as fathers and in the home, and in our generation they are. Partners need to recognize cultural norms (men as breadwinners, women as ideal moms) and make their own rules. ⑥ The US has shitty policies re: family leave, paid time off, etc. because as a society we are ambivalent about whether mothers should work outside the home. For the most part, lawmakers are out of touch with the realities of working families. We need to push for substantive debate and better policies for families. ⑦ Women need to take back their time, which is less about using certain time-management strategies than it is about claiming their own worth. They need to prioritize and to let things go. They need to ask more of their partners. They need to get out and play. Overwhelmed maps the individual, historical, biological and societal stresses that have ripped working mothers' and fathers' leisure to shreds, and asks how it might be possible for us to put the pieces back together. Seeking insights, answers and inspiration, Schulte explores everything from the wiring of the brain and why workplaces are becoming increasingly demanding, to worldwide differences in family policy, how cultural norms shape our experiences at work, our unequal division of labour at home and why it's so hard for everyone - but women especially - to feel they deserve an elusive moment of peace. The book both outlines the structural and policy changes needed - already underway in small pockets - and mines the latest human performance and motivation science to show the way out of the overwhelm and toward a state that time use researchers call ... Time Serenity. Overwhelmed is a map of the stresses - individual, historical, biological and societal - that have ripped working mothers' leisure to shreds, and a quest for how it might be possible for them to put the pieces back together. In her attempts to juggle work and family life, Brigid Schulte has baked cakes until 2 a.m., frantically (but surreptitiously) sent important emails during school trips and then worked long into the night after her children were in bed. Realising she had become someone who constantly burst in late, trailing shoes and schoolbooks and biscuit crumbs, she began to question, like so many of us, whether it is possible to be anything you want to be, have a family and still have time to breathe. So when Schulte met an eminent sociologist who studies time and he told her she enjoyed thirty hours of leisure each week, she thought her head was going to pop off. What followed was a trip down the rabbit hole of busy-ness, a journey to discover why so many of us ?nd it near-impossible to press the 'pause' button on life and what got us here in the ?rst place. Overwhelmed maps the individual, historical, biological and societal stresses that have ripped working mothers' and fathers' leisure to shreds, and asks how it might be possible for us to put the pieces back together. Seeking insights, answers and inspiration, Schulte explores everything from the wiring of the brain and why workplaces are becoming increasingly demanding, to worldwide differences in family policy, how cultural norms shape our experiences at work, our unequal division of labour at home and why it's so hard for everyone - but women especially - to feel they deserve an elusive moment of peace. -------------------------------------------- The Guardian Review : In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that within a century, we would work only 15 hours a week. Just over two decades later, a fresh-faced vice-president called Richard Nixon volunteered that, by 1990, Americans would retire at the age of 38. And yet somehow, despite all the gadgets and gizmos that were supposed to set us free from drudgery – dishwashers, disposable nappies, Skype – many people in the developed world now feel they are working harder than ever. Brigid Schulte (pictured) calls this "the overwhelm". The Washington Post reporter's engaging book – which is by turns a pop science explainer, self-help guide and subtle feminist polemic – aims to discover why some of us feel there simply aren't enough hours in the day. She sympathises: juggling family and career, and feeling guilty about neglecting both, she is "scattered, fragmented, exhausted". Not only is she doing too much – she feels she should always be doing more. It is a common sentiment, particularly among working mothers; I recently sat in a room full of high-profile women in the media, discussing how they made it to the top. The answer, again and again: working part-time when their children were young, and in one case, having a stay-at-home husband. They were proof you couldn't "have it all", if that meant working 60 hours a week while raising a young family. "With work, if it had been all or nothing, I would have chosen nothing," one said. That is Schulte's diagnosis, too: by far the most leisure-time-starved group in society are mothers (particularly single mothers). It took decades for researchers to realise this, because they initially regarded childcare and housework as leisure time (most were men). This isn't a book that hammers you with its feminist credentials, but there is an unavoidably gendered aspect to our ideas of what constitutes "real work", even though you'd be hard-pressed to argue that a screaming toddler is the easy option compared with piddling round on Microsoft Excel. But even as an increasing number of women work full-time outside the home, our attachment to traditional gender roles is hard to shake. Mothers still do far more housework and childcare than fathers, even when both parents work – and dads' time with their kids is often in the company of their partner, making them the "helping" parent, or the "fun" parent. Mums get to be the "supervisory parent", and therefore can't ever really relax. (In gay couples, the roles are much more likely to be equitably shared.) Such women experience free time in tiny gobbets, all the while hoping there isn't anything important in their stack of unread emails, and that odd smell isn't cat sick under the stairs again. Fighting "the overwhelm" means identifying the problem, and there are three villains in this book: our jobs, our expectations and ourselves. Give a small cheer here if you live in Europe, because it turns out that America really, really hates its citizens and wants them to be unhappy. "The US is the only advanced economy that doesn't guarantee workers paid time off," Schulte writes. "Nearly one-quarter of all American workers get no paid vacation, most of them low-wage and part-time workers." Oh, and don't expect any paid maternity leave either; there is no legal requirement to offer it. All this is a legacy of the religious right's dominance in the 1970s, when firebrands such as Pat Buchanan decided that nurseries were probably a plot to indoctrinate children and make them into tiny commies. Schulte gazes longingly towards Scandinavia, with its family-friendly policies, but the US situation sounds so bad I even felt a twang of pride for Blighty. The next cause of the overwhelm is a construct Schulte calls the "ideal worker". The ideal worker is the perfect capitalist machine-part, never seizing up or breaking down, always ready for overtime or foreign travel, never missing a day to look after a sick child or parent. Many businesses are in the grip of "presenteeism", imagining that there is a perfect correlation between time spent with bum on office chair and productivity. There isn't: research shows most people can only do eight hours of quality work a day. After that, they are just desk meat, surreptitiously playing Solitaire in a browser window or daydreaming about dinner. A macho long-hours culture hurts men just as much as women: when new dads ask for flexible working, they get burned both by the assumption they are not dedicated to the job and the assumption they are big old Girlie Men. We can't blame everything on heartless employers, though. The relatively affluent have to take some responsibility for worshipping at the Altar of Overwork, an attitude Schulte calls "busier than thou". Just as having a tan became a status symbol once it denoted that you could afford foreign holidays, so being overwhelmed is a badge of honour for middle-class professionals. Oh, between Jonny's clarinet lessons and my Mandarin classes and Steve getting promoted to partner, I don't have a minute to myself, they trill. Having no free time makes the point you don't just have a job. You have a career. You are Going Somewhere. Schulte's prescription is simple: decide whether you love the bragging rights of being busy enough to live in a debilitating whirlwind of activity. If you don't, perhaps leave the clarinet unmolested and the boxercise class undone. As for housework, one researcher's message to women is refreshingly simple: be a slattern. "Do you have to be able to do open-heart surgery on the kitchen floor?" he asks. Also, make sure Himself pulls his weight. This book's strength is mixing research and anecdote in a lively, accessible way, with a reporter's eye for detail. I underlined a passage about "establishing metrics to measure success and feedback loops to course-correct" to remind me just how refreshingly little hand-wavy mumbo-jumbo there is elsewhere. The obvious criticism is that Schulte's message speaks largely to uptight overachievers in creative fields, and being told to lobby for a four-day week or a 4pm hometime won't cut much ice if you are on the minimum wage or a zero-hours contract. (The author does acknowledge that the figure for average working hours is misleading because it obscures the gulf between the crazy-busy top of the labour market and the underemployed bottom, yet is otherwise prone to breezy generalisations.) But, of course, a book like this can't hope to tackle every aspect of such a complex subject, and even if it did, no one would have time to read the result. There just aren't enough hours in the day. About Author : Brigid Schulte is an award-winning journalist for The Washington Post and The Washington Post Magazine, and was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize. She is also a fellow at the New America Foundation. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and their two children.
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