You are busy. You are juggling work, multiple family obligations, volunteer/service hours, and perhaps, starting your own online business. There aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you need to do.
Motivation and creativity seem ever elusive. You are tired and maybe even burned out.
However, “resting” is the last thing on your mind. There isn’t time to rest.
In his book, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, Alex Sooung-Kim Pang discusses the importance of balancing rest and work. Not doing so is detrimental to one’s well-being, motivation and most important, creativity.
According to Pang, the “death” of creativity due to the lack of rest is almost a guarantee of failure, particularly for entrepreneurs.
Throughout the book, he highlights many of our lauded historic figures and how they used “rest” as an integral part of life and not just a temporary period of time off. Among the individuals highlighted are Winston Churchill, Earnest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, and Charles Dickens. Every day, these highly prolific individuals included rest as part of their daily routine.
In Part One, Pang talks about six types of rest that can stimulate creativity. They are Four Hours, Morning Routine, Walk, Nap, Stop, and Sleep. Out of context some of these don’t really make much sense. Let me explain.
- Four Hours: The number of hours many of the historic figures Pang discusses worked in a day.
- Morning Routine: All the historic figures maintained a basic morning routine regardless of the day of the week.
- Walk: A period of time during the day they walked and thus, contemplated.
- Nap: Surprisingly, many of these figures took a nap every day.
- Stop: Many of the individuals highlighted in the book understood the importance of when to stop working for the day.
- Sleep: Not surprisingly, all of these individuals slept 7-8 hours a day.
In Part Two, Pang talks about types of rest that sustain creativity. These are recovery, exercise, deep play, and sabbaticals.
- Recovery: Many of the historic figures, when their work was highly stressful and demanding, used sustained periods where they were completely detached for their work. This really avoided burn out and even mental breakdowns.
- Exercise: This is self-explanatory and not a surprise that the individuals highlighted in the book exercised regularly.
- Deep Play: For many of the figures, deep play was a hobby that allowed them learn new and different things distinct from their work.
- Sabbaticals: Many of you may not be familiar with this term. It is an extended period of time away from the day to day routines and demands of work. While not many of the historic figures took sabbaticals, those that did often say a spike in their creativity once returning to work.
How all of these activities stimulate the brain is that they require the use of different aspects of our brain. The more aspects of your brain you use the sharper your mental acuity is.
I know what you are thinking – ‘this may have been acceptable 50, 100 years ago but times are different.’ Yes, times are different and that is why Pang is arguing these are needed more than ever.
He certainly isn’t suggesting you walk into your boss office and announce that you are only going to work four hours a day instead of your contractually obligated eight. (Although, wouldn’t we all love do that!) If you are your own boss, maybe you need to start a conversation with yourself about the number of hours you’re working.
What Pang is suggesting is that you integrate some aspect of rest, preferably several, into your life. To quit seeing rest as something you will do someday or for a week when on vacation.
Since we are now trained to be on 24/7, Pang concludes that creating a balance between work and rest will take time and practice. That rest is really a skill to be learned and not something you just start to do.
For more information about the book, reader reviews, library locations, and booksellers, visit this GoodReads page.
Is there a book similar to Rest that you’ve read? Feel free to share with the community in the comments below.