“You will consider how and why you rest in a completely new light after reading this book.” (Wendy Suzuki, author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life)
“You’re holding some terrific advice in your hands on the virtues of walking, napping, and playing. Pang has written a delightful and thought-provoking book on the science of restful living.” (Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think)
I’m also continuing to collect research and stories about the subjects I cover in Rest: stories about the role of deliberate rest in creative lives, research on the neuroscience and psychology of creativity, the challenges of busyness and overwork, and so on.
But according to a growing anti-workaholism movement, the counterintuitive key to greater productivity could be working fewer hours. In Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, Silicon Valley consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang makes the case for a four-hour workday. “Decades of research demonstrate that the correlation between the number of hours worked and productivity is very weak,” says Pang, a Stanford University visiting scholar and founder of the Restful Company.
Always nice to see a writer get the space she needs to dive deeply into a subject, especially when your work is the subject. Read the whole thing.
Since today is National Napping Day, I thought I would highlight this recent article by Christopher Lindholst in Corporate Wellness Magazine:
As companies review and adjust their budgets for the year currently underway, there’s a line item many may be overlooking: naps. Sleeping on the job was an activity companies frowned on in the past; it could even be a firing offense. But, as scientific evidence showing how beneficial short rest periods are for productivity and learning becomes more widely known company leaders are rethinking their sleep policies.
Today, many world-renowned enterprises — including Google, Mercedes Financial and AXA have onsite napping pods. They know that short rest periods during the workday can sharpens employees’ minds, help prevent chronic disease and enhance learning retention. Napping facilities also help employees beat the “afternoon crash” so many office workers experience.
The fact that high-tech companies and other industry leaders are budgeting for naps gives the workplace short-rest concept a distinctly modern cast. But, the fact is, napping has always been a secret weapon of high-achieving leaders, including Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, all of whom made a daily nap part of their workday regimen, according to Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less.
Research shows that a recharging nap can also enhance creativity as well as sharpen leadership skills. And Pang notes that many famously creative people scheduled short rest periods into their daily routine, including writers J.R.R. Tolkien, Ray Bradbury, Jonathan Franzen, Thomas Mann and Stephen King. Once derided as the habit of slackers, naps are actually a favorite tactic of workaholics.
March 6, 2017 / askpang / Comments Off on Leisure activities and mental health: The case of unemployment
While I was writing REST, one of the things I realized about practices like daily walks and deep play is that, in addition to the direct benefits they provide in the way of restoration and creative stimulus, they’re also valuable to people because they give structure to their lives.
For them, a daily routine isn’t an impediment to creativity. Routine provides a scaffolding that makes them more productive, and setting aside time for deliberate rest helps increase the odds* that they’ll be more creative. A routine also makes it easier to say no to less-important tasks. It also provides a greater sense of control over your life. When Nelson Mandela was in prison, he still maintained his boxer’s workout routine, even though he was doing manual labor. This wasn’t because he needed to be extra buff to break rocks. It was a way of asserting his own control over his life.
Now, a new study looks at the role leisure can play in helping provide structure in the lives of the unemployed. Continue reading
[A smartphone is] the last thing I want to take with me into the garden. What I love most about being there is surrendering myself entirely to the tasks at hand. Clearing out overgrown beds, digging in compost for new plantings, transplanting, repotting, pruning, feeding – whatever the job, working in the garden is the best way I know to untether my brain from pretty much everything that’s going on in my world, and especially all the frantic activity of social media feeds, news updates, SMS alerts and phone calls that keep us captive once our screens are in our hands.
There’s extensive research on the psychological benefits of being in natural surroundings (summarized in Florence Williams’ new book The Nature Fix). But one of the things I observed when I was writing Rest was that for a number of my subjects, gardening wasn’t just an opportunity to spend time outdoors and get exercise (though it was both of those things); it was also a form of deep play. Continue reading
A new digital reconstruction method shows three neurons that branch extensively throughout the brain, including one that wraps around its entire outer layer. The finding may help to explain how the brain creates consciousness.
The neurons are found in a section of the brain called the claustrum, which is buried under the neocortex. It hasn’t been studied very much, for several practical reasons, but it’s been the focus of intense interest by a couple really important people. Continue reading
For most of us, overwork is the new normal and rest is an afterthought. But the scholar Alex Soojung-Kim Pang says that by dismissing the importance of rest in our lives we stifle our ability to think creatively and truly recharge. Pang will join us to talk about his new book that examines why long walks, afternoon naps, vigorous exercise, and “deep play” stimulate creative work and sustain creative lives.
Sounds like it could have been, according to Variety:
Brian Cullinan, one of the two PriceWaterhouseCoopers partners who handled the Oscar envelopes on Sunday night, was tweeting photos from backstage minutes before he handed Warren Beatty the wrong Best Picture envelope. Continue reading