This article from The Economist analyzes why everyone seems so busy today – especially in the US.
We are busy, but the article argues it is largely by choice rather than by necessity. And when I say “we,” I am referring to white-collar workers. Blue-collar workers, although they aren’t necessarily prospering financially like they used to, have significantly more leisure time now than white collar workers.
A lot of the tendency toward overwork is rooted in the metaphor of “time in money,” which is so deeply rooted in western culture. That metaphor implies that time not spent working is unproductive time. This is exacerbated by heightened feelings of job insecurity and economic insecurity.
Also, multi-tasking makes us feel more harried. You feel like you have better control over your time when you can focus on a single activity.
It is a fascinating read and one that might encourage you to re-think your own approach to work and life. (And it is not unrelated to Nick Kimminau's most recent Medium post in the Olson Zaltman collection about the “Second of the Day” project.)