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Littell's Living Age/Volume 133/Issue 1714/Miscellany

Hurry and "High Pressure." — It is the pace that kills; and of all forms of "overwork," that which consists in an excessive burst of effort, straining to the strength, and worrying to the will, hurry of all kinds — for example, that so often needed to catch a train, the effort required to complete a task of head-work within a period of time too short for its accomplishment by moderate energy — is injurious. Few suffer from overwork in the aggregate; it is too much work in too little time that causes the break down in nineteen cases out of twenty, when collapse occurs. Most sufferers bring the evil on themselves by driving off the day's work until the space allotted for its performance is past, or much reduced. Method in work is the great need of the day. If some portion of each division of time was devoted to the apportioning of hours and energy, there would be less confusion, far less "hurry," and the need of working at high pressure would be greatly reduced, if not wholly obviated. A great deal has been written and said of late, to exceedingly little practical purpose, on the subject of "overwork." We doubt whether what is included under this description might not generally be more appropriately defined as work done in a hurry, because the time legitimately appropriated to its accomplishment has been wasted or misapplied. Hurry to catch a train generally implies starting too late. High pressure is, says the Lancet, either the consequence of a like error at the outset of a task, or the penalty of attempting to compensate by intense effort for inadequate opportunity. If brain is bartered for business in this fashion, the goose is killed for the sake of the golden eggs, and greed works its own discomfiture.