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Matt Ballantine, writing about “The curse of busy-ness”:

Collaboration platforms in particular emphasise making efficient use of time almost above all else. Yet has this technology made us any more effective? Through my research I’ve yet to see any compelling evidence. And every innovation created to free up a few spare minutes is met with an equal and opposite force to use that time up. Online diaries and the decline of the Personal Assistant have combined to reduce what was crucial friction to enable people to have a balance between scheduled and impromptu time.

Whilst everyone is stuck in unproductive meetings that they bemoan constantly, they’re far more afraid of wide open expanses of diary time. What on earth would they use it for? And how would they possibly justify their corporate existence without an expanse of busy in their diaries? Even that binary distinction, Busy or Free, is a false dichotomy symbolic of the busy-ness culture.

The reality is like building additional roads on motorways. Any additional time freed up is met immediately with new demands for busy-ness.

I like the comparison to road-building, where there is plenty of data to show that building new roads or adding lanes to additional roads only makes traffic congestion worse, not better.

Matt goes on to suggest that the technology to support a non-busy approach to working would pretty much be the plain old World Wise Web. I agree, and would throw in pen and paper and physical books.