One of my favorite sayings is that "a change is as good as a rest." It captures an idea I've found true in my own life, that doing something different, even if it takes effort, is just as rejuvenating, and in fact more so, than doing nothing.
Well, my guest today would tweak this maxim slightly to say that a change IS a rest. His name is Alex Soojung Kim-Pang, and he's a writer, consultant, and academic, as well as the author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less. We begin our conversation with why many people feel overworked in the modern age, how quality rest is an antidote, and how Alex defines rest as something that can be active rather than passive, and even thought of as a skill. We discuss why rest is valuable even with seemingly unstrenuous knowledge work, and how apparently unproductive mind-wandering can in fact make you more productive and creative. Alex shares how many hours of focused cognitive work you’re really capable of putting in each day and how successful people tend to set up their daily routine, including why it's effective to stop work each day in the middle of a task. We also discuss why you want to layer periods of rest and work in your schedule, how hobbies offer a sense of autonomy that's crucial in making rest refreshing, and how exercise plays a key role in recovery from work, even amongst brainy intellectuals. Along the way, Alex shares insights from the lives of eminent men like Eisenhower, Hemingway, and Viktor Frankl on how to get better rest, become better at your craft, and lengthen the longevity of your career.
Get the show notes at aom.is/rest.