The Value of Resting

It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness. –Thomas Jefferson

I’ve just finished another book. Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. He published a companion book basically excerpted from this one Rest In The World: My Morning Routine in Kindle.

IN THIS BOOK, I’ve argued that we should treat work and rest as equals; that we should treat rest as a skill; that the best, most restorative kinds of rest are active; and that when practiced well, rest can make us more creative and productive, without forcing us into a funhouse mirror of endless work and ever-rising expectations.

Pang is another writer from a long line of thinkers stretching back millennia who discusses the powers of habit, routine, and focus. His book is packed with examples and scientific studies. 

Structure your day such that you have specific times of focused work and then times of unfocused rest. Perhaps that is walking the dogs or just walking in the park. Put a question in your mind and then “forget” it. Go out. Walk for a while. Ideas will come to you. 

Another part of rest involves other physical activity. Most achievers have engaged in a physically and mentally challenging hobby. Anything from mountain climbing to tennis to sailing.

Writers and other creative people have structured their days to rise early and spend the first couple of hours creating–writing, painting, whatever. Then they seek release and rest from “occupation” as Jefferson puts it through some form of physical activity. Kurt Vonnegut swam–also finding that at around 11 am the pool was not crowded.

CEOs and other such leaders, by the way, tend to rise early and then begin the day with their physical workouts.

Another part of rest is to get away for a period of time. A week. Several weeks.

There is much more in the book. It is worth the read. I’ll just leave you with a discipline–rise early, prepare your morning the day before whether it be writing or exercising, take a break once in a while.

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