• Counterproductive: Time Management in the Knowledge Economy

    Pages: 216
    Illustrations: 16 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Preface  ix
    I. Theory
    Introduction: The Productivity Imperative  3
    1. A Brief History of Time Management  22
    II. Practice
    2. Executive Athleticism: Time Management and the Quest for Organization  53
    3. The Aesthetics of Activity: Productivity and the Order of Things  78
    III. Anthropotechnics
    4. Mindful Labor  103
    Conclusion: From Careers to Atmospheres  127
    Postscript: A Belated Processing  141
    Acknowledgments  143
    Notes  147
    Bibliography  179
    Index  191
  • “Revealing the relationship between productivity techniques, on the one hand, and the isolation experienced by modern workers on the other, Melissa Gregg helps us better understand the neoliberal workplace. A timely, innovative, and compelling work, Counterproductive will be met with great enthusiasm by a broadly interdisciplinary group of readers in sociology, political theory, cultural studies, women's and gender studies, and critical management studies.” — Kathi Weeks, author of, The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries

    “This important genealogy of contemporary productivity practices takes us from the efficiency techniques of early factories to the time management systems of the postindustrial workplace to the productivity and ‘mindfulness’ apps that today's professionals employ—in an ambivalent mix of athletic striving and anxious hedging—to regulate themselves at and beyond the office. While some critics of the productivity economy are content to diagnose and naysay, Melissa Gregg challenges us to recuperate the potential for a less solipsistic, more equitable temporal orientation in the way that we live and work.” — Natasha Dow Schüll, author of, Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas

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  • Description

    As online distractions increasingly colonize our time, why has productivity become such a vital demonstration of personal and professional competence? When corporate profits are soaring but worker salaries remain stagnant, how does technology exacerbate the demand for ever greater productivity? In Counterproductive Melissa Gregg explores how productivity emerged as a way of thinking about job performance at the turn of the last century and why it remains prominent in the different work worlds of today. Examining historical and archival material alongside popular self-help genres—from housekeeping manuals to bootstrapping business gurus, and the growing interest in productivity and mindfulness software—Gregg shows how a focus on productivity isolates workers from one another and erases their collective efforts to define work limits. Questioning our faith in productivity as the ultimate measure of success, Gregg's novel analysis conveys the futility, pointlessness, and danger of seeking time management as a salve for the always-on workplace.

    About The Author(s)

    Melissa Gregg is Principal Engineer and Research Director, Client Computing Group, Intel; coeditor of The Affect Theory Reader, also published by Duke University Press; and author of Work's Intimacy.
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