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Buzz: On hard work, housework and smartphones

On the 4th of July, while many people were enjoying a hot dog, walking in a parade or watching the fireworks, chances are at least some of you were surreptitiously checking work e-mails on your phone.Don’t worry about it too much - unless you were the one who pulled a smartphone out during dinner.In a post this week on how smartphone users find that work creeps into all aspects of their personal

On the 4th of July, while many people were enjoying a hot dog, walking in a parade or watching the fireworks, chances are at least some of you were surreptitiously checking work e-mails on your phone.

Don’t worry about it too much - unless you were the one who pulled a smartphone out during dinner.

In a post this week on how smartphone users find that work creeps into all aspects of their personal lives, our readers voted the dinner table as the No. 1 most inappropriate place to check work e-mail. It handily beat out the bathroom, the bed and even the family outing.

As one reader put it bluntly: “Shut the stupid things off and talk to people who are present.”  

If you are checking work e-mail at home, perhaps it’s because you feel like you have to work harder than ever just to keep up. Another post this week looked at government data showing that men in particular clocked more work hours in 2011 than in 2010.

But it seems as though we’re all feeling overworked. About two-thirds of the about 3,000 readers who took our poll on that subject said they are working harder than a year ago, and it’s too much.

Many readers lamented that their companies had cut staff but the workload had stayed the same or increased. To stay employed, they said, they’re simply working harder, and in some cases without even the proper equipment or support.

“Went from 5 members in the department to 4. Same amount of work. Everyone works 25% harder,” one reader wrote.

Maybe you’ll feel better if you put down the smartphone and pick up the vacuum cleaner. This week, we also reported on a surprising study finding that men were happier and less stressed when they did more cooking, shopping and cleaning.

Some readers took this as a sign that men are happier because their partners aren’t nagging them as much. But others said perhaps they are happier because both partners are actively involved in domestic life.

“My husband does a lot of the housework. He is also very involved with our children. Our marriage is exceptionally strong. Perhaps it's simply that the ‘togetherness’ of a couple is expressed in numerous ways, including housework. Happier couples like doing things together and helping one another out,” one reader wrote.