Clare Holdsworth develops an account of everyday busyness by identifying busyness with a relational interpretation of time. She analyses a variety of secondary data sources - one-day diaries, self-help books on busyness and time management, accounts of a writing day and interviews about family work and time - and combines these analyses with personal observations. By revealing busyness as the point at which we negotiate our own responsibilities and those of other people, and by showcasing how experiences of busyness are very varied, Holdsworth concludes that the tactics we use to deal with excessive busyness and the habits we develop in relation to it need to recognise the relational status of busyness. Rather than assuming that busyness is an issue that should be resolved by helping individuals manage their time better, she argues that busyness should be thought of as a collective challenge.
This book encourages us to understand that time-management solutions need to focus on the spatial and temporal distributions of responsibilities and how people manage these responsibilities. It represents a timely call for collective responses to busyness in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has intensified the unequal distribution of responsibilities.