In Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less (published in 2016, just out in paperback), Alex Soojung-Kim Pang painstakingly investigates the working lives of the likes of Charles Darwin and finds that history's most productive high-performers were working about four hours a day and slacking off the rest of the time: napping, strolling, having leisurely lunches.
I'm a pretty productive person, and part of that is down to my figuring out how to turn my slacking (reading, arguing on the internet, looking at brutalist architecture photos) into work -- a situation that is something of a mixed blessing for me.
According to Pang's book, the kind of working hours I'm putting in are historically unusual and likely harmful (which feels sadly plausible).
“It turned out that all these people went on long vacations and did hobbies, and their daily lives were a lot more leisurely than ours,” Pang tells me. A 1951 study of scientists and technologists found the most productive ones worked 10 to 20 hours a week in the office, though they also worked some at home.
A languid pace can produce terrific results because rest allows us to gather our resources. Those long walks and hours pursuing hobbies breed deep reflection and creativity. And midafternoon naps? They’re cognitive gold, as Sara Mednick, a sleep researcher at UC Irvine, has found. “They improve alertness, help consolidate information you learned earlier, and help with emotional regulation,” she says.
Even a bit of procrastinating has its advantages. Being a moderate procrastinator may simply be your mind’s way of demanding more space and time—or of focusing on things that really matter, which may not be Task No. 1 glaring at you balefully from atop your to-do list. (Philosopher John Perry calls this “structured procrastination.”)
Why You Should Slack Off to Get Some Work Done [Clive Thompson/Wired]
Myrmecophiles are parasitic beetles that use chemical cues to fool ants into bringing them into their nests and regurgitating food into their mouths, diverting the colony's bounty of semi-digested ant-chow from the queen and her babies to their own hungry guts. Ant Lab shows us how a Xenodusa beetle can con Camponotus ants into a […]
Back in August, I gave the closing keynote at the second Decentralized Web Summit, entitled "Big Tech's problem is Big, not Tech; the Internet Archive released video right afterwards, but now they've cleaned up the video and rereleased it for your viewing pleasure.
For more than two years, Radiolab has been running a brilliant side-podcast called More Perfect which involves deeply reported, engaging stories about Supreme Court decisions, skilfully mixing in audio from the trials, historic or new interviews with the people involved, and commentary from scholars and activists that serve to illuminate the incredible stories behind the […]
As more companies leverage cloud technology to unite and streamline their operations, the need for capable IT pros increases. But, as any IT guru will tell you, demand alone won’t get your foot in the door to this lucrative field. If you want to cash in on the demand and build a thriving IT career, […]
iOS 12 is finally here, which means now is the best time for aspiring developers to throw their hats into the app development game. While app development can be tricky for some, you can take an intuitive, beginner-friendly approach to understanding app creation and Apple’s latest iOS platform with the iOS 12 & Xcode 10 Bootcamp, […]
It might still be September, but the holiday season will be here before you know it, which means now is the time to think about where you want to vacation to—and what to do once you get there. To this end, we’ve scoured the Web and tracked down a number of travel hacking ebooks, gadgets, […]