Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
We live in a world that is quick to glorify hustle and the endless need to be ‘busy.’ So, when I picked up the book “Rest” by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, I remember sighing with relief. Sometimes we feel as though we need permission to rest and step back from the crazy pace of life today. If you haven’t read “Rest” but feel like you’re moving at a frenetic pace and don’t know how to slow down, I would highly recommend checking it out.
In the book, there are 9 important areas of a restful life including: four hours of work, morning routine, walk, sleep, stop, recovery, exercise, deep play, and sabbaticals.
The Importance of Rest:
I will briefly summarize a few of my favorite points and quotes from each of these 9 sections from the book. I would encourage you not to try and tackle each of these at once. Just sit down with a cup of coffee, a piece of paper, and pick one or two of the 9 areas to focus on. Then, if that goes well…choose 1 or 2 more. The best plans are the ones that we actually stick to.
- When you start early, the rest you take is the rest you’ve earned.
- The reason it’s necessary to start writing and to keep writing is that creativity doesn’t drive the work; the work drives creativity.
- A routine creates a landing place for the muse.
- “…all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus. Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking. Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest ‘working hours.’
- Four hours is a good amount of time for deep, creative work. No more.
- For many thinkers and doers, a walk is an essential part of their daily life, a source of exercise and solitude.
- Sometimes walks don’t just loosen inhibitions to creative thinking but also dislodge insights that have been working their way up from the subconscious.
- Sleep scientists have found that even a short nap can be effective in recharging your mental batteries.
- Naps can even provide an opportunity to have new ideas.
- The most obvious benefit of napping is that it increases alertness and decreases fatigue.
- Regular napping can improve memory.
- A counter intuitive but effective form of deliberate rest is to stop working at just the right point: to see your next move but leave it until tomorrow.
- Like designing a distraction free morning, cultivating a routine that creates space for both focused work and fuel some rest, and using walks and naps to restore creative energy and promote creative insights, stopping at the right time requires understanding the demands of your work learning to monitor your energy and attention, and appreciating how focused attention and mind wandering can become partners in creative enterprises and in a creative life.
- A 2015 survey reported that 71% of workers who take regular vacations reported being satisfied with their work, versus 17% of workers who don’t.
- According to a 2014 survey, one in five startup founders got the idea for their company during vacations.
- Workers who have the chance to get away mentally, switch off, and devote their energies elsewhere, are more productive, have better attitudes, get along better with their colleagues, and are better able to deal with challenges at work.
- Rather than treating vacations as big, annual events that are completely separate from our working lives, taking shorter but more frequent vacations every few months provides greater levels of recovery.
- The positive effects of time off from work, of being able to completely leave the cares and pressures of the workplace behind, are by now too well documented to ignore, as are the negative effects of burnout.
- Regular exercise also relieves stress and increases your capacity to deal with the pressures of difficult jobs.
- Under the right conditions, hobbies and physical activities become what anthropologist and psychologists call ‘deep play’ activities that are rewarding on their own, but take on additional layers of meaning and personal significance.
- Play is one of the most important things we do.
- This combination of absorption, use of skills in new contexts, similar satisfactions through different means, and personal connection makes deep play a powerful break from work, a respite from professional frustrations, and a source of recovery. Deep play becomes worthwhile because its rewards are so substantial. Deep play can acquire momentum, pulling its players in directions they never expected to go.
- Sabbaticals improve employee satisfaction, give returning workers a greater sense of clarity about their jobs and future, and improve retention levels.
- Being in an environment that is new but not alienating, intellectually stimulating, and different from home helps free the mind to make creative leaps.
- Successful sabbaticals are also periods of detachment from one’s regular life.
Conclusion: The Importance of Rest
- Taking rest seriously also helps bring more of your life into clearer focus. At the everyday level, it heightens your ability to concentrate and discourages multitasking.
- Protecting time for rest also forces you to consider whether a new opportunity, request for a favor, or demand on your time is really worth it. It helps you identify tasks that you might casually accept and regret later, and gives you permission to turn them down.
- It helps contain our impulse to be super busy and lets us focus on a small number of things that really matter to us rather than pursue too many things.
- Too often busyness is not a means to accomplishment but an obstacle to it.
- Deliberate rest helps you recognize and avoid the trap of pointless busyness and concentrate instead on what’s important.
- Over the course of a life, deliberate rest restores your energy, gives you more time, helps you do more, and helps you focus on doing the things that matter most while avoiding those that don’t.
- It creates a life that’s rewarding while it’s lived, a life that has purpose and pleasure, work and reward, in equal measure. And that life feels complete and well-spent at the end.
What do you think? Do you believe in The Importance of Rest? Which of the points above resonated most with you? Feel free to let me know on Instagram @betsyramserjaime
Also, you can click here to check out the book.
The Importance of Rest: