In response to a piece we featured a few weeks ago about why free time is so elusive despite working so hard, a reader shared this article on why we need to work hard towards our rest i.e, deliberate rest.

Alex Soojun-Kim Pang, the author of the article says his study of people’s lives over the years has given him a sense of how those who are able to do the work they love for decades have a few things in common.

“For people who have control over their daily schedules layer periods of “deep work,” as Cal Newport calls it, and “deliberate rest,” time to both recharge and let the creative subconscious examine problems that they haven’t been able to solve through hard work. Many great scientists, mathematicians, and composers have daily routines in which they work intensively for a couple hours, take a long break, then work a couple more—and those four or five hours give you enough time to make steady progress on your work, and come up with some new, unexpected ideas.

People in high-stress, unpredictable jobs can’t depend on such routines; but the most successful at dealing with the challenges of work rely on two other things: First, they have good boundaries between work and personal time. Second, they have serious hobbies—everything from quilting, to rebuilding classic cars, to running marathons—that are as absorbing as their work. This “deep play” illustrates another important point: the best rest is active, not just passive. We often think of “rest” as involving a bag of salty snacks and a TV remote, but working out or playing piano actually recharges your mental and physical batteries more effectively than binge-watching that hot new show.”

How does one get started on this journey in practice?

“For many, it begins at work. Reducing distractions, becoming more efficient at tasks you can control, and automating routine duties can create time in your day for short breaks that recharge your batteries, and make it easier to maintain clear lines between work and personal time. Better planning and prioritizing will also mean fewer late nights and avoidable crises. Doing this with colleagues amplifies the benefits. Companies that adopt four-day workweeks succeed because they redesign their workday to give everyone more deep work time, less time in meetings, and fewer interruptions.

Next, find your deep play. If you have a hobby you’re passionate about, you’re more likely to make time for it, and feel good about doing it. If you already have a favorite pastime that was crowded out by work, you have permission to take it back up. If not, look for something that offers satisfactions as rich as work when it goes well, but in concentrated doses, and in a completely different environment (outdoors and physical if you work in an office). You can’t think about clients on a surfboard.

Take your vacations. Shorter, more frequent vacations are often more restorative, because they’re lower-stakes than once-in-a-lifetime expeditions, and a drip-feed of anticipation, escape, and recovery is better than one big hit of happiness a year. The only bad vacation is the one you don’t take.”

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Note: the above material is neither investment research, nor financial advice. Marcellus does not seek payment for or business from this publication in any shape or form. Marcellus Investment Managers is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India as a provider of Portfolio Management Services. Marcellus Investment Managers is also regulated in the United States as an Investment Advisor.

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