By Martha Ross
San Jose Mercury News.
At a recent high school alumni event, Christine Carter disabused former classmates of the notion that she was incredibly busy.
She couldn’t blame them for assuming her life was packed 24/7. The sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center has a new book, “The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work,” coming out in January. She’s also blogging, teaching online classes, coaching executives, doing public speaking, as well as managing a new marriage and parenting four kids, ages 12, 13, 14 and 15.
“Actually, I’m not that busy,” said Carter, 42. “I’ve worked very hard to not be busy.”
Carter’s efforts to give up her overworked, multitasking ways lie at the heart of her new book. “The Sweet Spot” offers practical advice on how people can make small but important changes in their daily lives so they can enjoy more balance at home and work.
The book’s title describes the place where people can perform tasks with the “greatest ease” and the “greatest power”, as when a tennis player is able to easily but powerfully launch a ball back over the net.
Carter’s book originated from her own experiment in “having it all.” Five years ago, she was an outwardly successful academic, best-selling book author and single mother with a long list of high-profile commitments, including serving as executive director of the Greater Good Science Center.
But she was miserable. She had fallen into what she calls the “busy-ness trap.”
“The sheer logistics of my single-parent, triple-job life were leaving me dead tired and, if I’m honest, often snappish with the people I loved the most,” she writes. “It seemed like I never rested anymore, never just sat down to watch a movie or read for pleasure. Every minute of every day, I needed to make progress answering emails, checking things off lists, driving the kids around, arranging things on one of my multiple task lists and Google calendars.”