Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

We're more impressed by busy people, says science

science of being busy.jpg

Picture your week ahead: is it packed full of deadlines, meetings, drinks, dinners, hobbies and sports?

If so, you might be considered as having a “higher status” than those who have plenty of time to spare, according to the findings of a new study.

And this is particularly true if you’re partial to humble bragging about how busy you are on social media.

The new research, conducted by professors at Columbia, Georgetown and Harvard universities, found that being constantly busy was viewed as the ultimate status symbol – and could even be more impressive than owning luxury products or having plenty of cash to spare.

“People who have less time are viewed as scarce resources, and therefore their time seems more valuable,” one of the study’s co-authors, Neeru Paharia, told Canvas 8.

“When busy, people are inaccessible, which makes others perceive them as being in-demand,” the assistant professor at Georgetown University added.

“This is why a full calendar is, in some contexts, now a more desirable status symbol than any material possession.”

Do you find yourself feeling constantly busy?

Do you find yourself feeling constantly busy?

The study, due to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research, analysed tweets sent by people who were humble bragging about their busy lives (think tweets such as, “I have so much work to do, I don’t even have time to have lunch”, or anything with the hashtag #ihavenolife).

Based on the analysis, the researchers presented participants with different scenarios of busy and non-busy people, and asked them to infer their social status.

Read more: Nine tips and tricks for the time-poor bookworm

In contrast to the traditional idea that less busy people were able to have such leisurely lifestyles because they had more money, and therefore a higher status, the researchers found that participants were more impressed by the scenarios of busy people.

They concluded that this is because time is now the most valuable commodity in our hectic, “switched on” lives.

“A busy and overworked lifestyle, rather than a leisurely lifestyle, has become an aspirational status symbol,” the researchers concluded in the paper.

So, next time you’re drowning in deadlines, console yourself with the thought that you’re probably killing it in the social stakes.

Images: iStock


gin best.PNG

The world’s best gin comes from a tiny distillery in Cornwall

Nathalie Gordon.jpg

This woman’s frighteningly relatable story has gone viral on Twitter


How women are helping other women become firefighters in New York City


Why anxiety makes it harder to follow your intuition

It can have a paralysing effect on decision-making

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

“Why all men must work to stamp out sexual harassment and abuse”

In wake of the Weinstein allegations, one writer argues why men need to be counted

19 Oct 2017

Drinking alcohol can help with foreign language skills, study finds

Anyone for a dash of Dutch courage?

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

Muggles can attend the Harry Potter Yule Ball in the actual Great Hall

You even get your own wand!

by Megan Murray
19 Oct 2017

Walking for just 17 minutes a day has a dramatic effect on your health

Want to prolong your life? A bit of gentle exercise is better than none at all

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

SATC writer admits the team argued over Carrie's unrealistic lifestyle

“I like my money where I can see it – hanging in my closet”

by Megan Murray
19 Oct 2017

WhatConsentMeansToMe hashtag sparks vital conversation on Twitter

“No matter what I wear, no matter what you think – no means no”

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

The Netflix shows you’re most likely to devour in 24 hours

You, my friend, are a ‘binge racer’

by Nicola Colyer
18 Oct 2017

There’s a psychological reason you’re in love with Starbucks’ red cups

It’s not just because Christmas is coming

by Gemma Crisp
18 Oct 2017

Have a wonderfully macabre Christmas with this anti-advent calendar

Bah humbug

by Megan Murray
18 Oct 2017