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robertogreco : alexsoojung-kimpang   12

Arianna Huffington on a Book About Working Less, Resting More - The New York Times
"We hear a lot about the many things that are disrupting the American workplace: the decline of manufacturing, demographics, globalization, automation and, especially, technology. And it’s true — all of those are roiling the world of work, not just in America but worldwide.

But there’s another force transforming the way we work, and that is: nonwork. Or, more specifically, what we’re doing in those few hours when we’re not working. With “Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less,” Alex Soojung-Kim Pang superbly illuminates this phenomenon and helps push it along.

What’s being disrupted is our collective delusion that burnout is simply the price we must pay for success. It’s a myth that, as Pang notes, goes back to the Industrial Revolution. That’s when the Cartesian notion of home and work as separate — and opposing — spheres took hold. Home, Pang writes, was “the place where a man could relax and recover from work.” When there was time, that is. Because soon leisure time and nighttime became commodities to monetize. Over the next decades, starting with demands from labor reformers, work hours were pushed back, mostly for safety reasons. But even today, the conversation focuses on “work-life balance,” which implicitly accepts the notion of work and life as Manichaean opposites — perpetually in conflict.

That’s why “Rest” is such a valuable book. If work is our national religion, Pang is the philosopher reintegrating our bifurcated selves. As he adeptly shows, not only are work and rest not in opposition, they’re inextricably bound, each enhancing the other. “Work and rest aren’t opposites like black and white or good and evil,” Pang writes. “They’re more like different points on life’s wave.”

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His central thesis is that rest not only makes us more productive and more creative, but also makes our lives “richer and more fulfilling.” But not all rest is created equal — it’s not just about not-working. The most productive kind of rest, according to Pang, is also active and deliberate. And as such, that means rest is a skill. “Rest turns out to be like sex or singing or running,” Pang writes. “Everyone basically knows how to do it, but with a little work and understanding, you can learn to do it a lot better.” Though he’s obviously never heard me sing, I take his point.

And he illustrates it well, showing how the secret behind many of history’s most creative authors, scientists, thinkers and politicians was that they were very serious and disciplined about rest. “Creativity doesn’t drive the work; the work drives creativity,” Pang writes. “A routine creates a landing place for the muse.”

And as Pang notes, modern science has now validated what the ancients knew: Work “provided the means to live,” while rest “gave meaning to life.” Thousands of years later, we have the science to prove it. “In the last couple decades,” he writes, “discoveries in sleep research, psychology, neuroscience, organizational behavior, sports medicine, sociology and other fields have given us a wealth of insight into the unsung but critical role that rest plays in strengthening the brain, enhancing learning, enabling inspiration, and making innovation sustainable.”

We can’t declare victory quite yet. To experience the kind of rest that fuels creativity and productivity, we need to detach from work. But in our technology-obsessed reality, we carry our entire work world with us wherever we go, right in our pockets. It’s not enough to leave the office, when the office goes to dinner or to a game or home with you. And it’s not enough just to put our devices on vibrate or refrain from checking them. As Sherry Turkle noted in her book “Reclaiming Conversation,” the mere presence of a smartphone or device, even when not being used, alters our inner world. So achieving the kind of detachment we need for productive rest can’t really be done without detaching physically from our devices.

And even though the science has come in, still standing in the way is our ingrained workplace culture that valorizes burnout. “With a few notable exceptions,” Pang writes, “today’s leaders treat stress and overwork as a badge of honor, brag about how little they sleep and how few vacation days they take, and have their reputations as workaholics carefully tended by publicists and corporate P.R. firms.”

Turning that around will require a lot of work. And rest. The path of least resistance — accepting the habits of our current busyness culture and the technology that envelops us and keeps us perpetually connected — won’t make us more productive or more fulfilled. Instead of searching life hacks to make us more efficient and creative, we can avail ourselves of the life hack that’s been around as long as we have: rest. But we have to be as deliberate about it as we are about work. “Rest is not something that the world gives us,” Pang writes. “It’s never been a gift. It’s never been something you do when you’ve finished everything else. If you want rest, you have to take it. You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it.”

And you can start by putting down your phone — better yet, put it in another room — and picking up this much-needed book."
alexsoojung-kimpang  ariannahuffington  work  rest  creativity  2016  books  burnout  labor  sleep  workaholism  conservation  sherryturkle  productivity  detachment  neuroscience  psychology  sociology  routine  inspiration  innovation  lifehacks  efficiency 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Deliberate Rest: A Manifesto | The Rest Project
"Looking at Darwin’s life inspired me to look more closely at the lives of other noted scientists, and then the lives of writers, and then mathematicians, screenwriters, generals, and lots of other accomplished people. I’ve noticed that many of these people share something that usually goes overlooked, but which is essential for their success: an ability to rest deliberately.

The term “deliberate rest” is a play on Anders Ericsson’s famous concept of deliberate practice, the structured, regular, mindful practice that he argues turns people into outstanding performers.

What I see is that many brilliant, accomplished people are thoughtful about how they rest; they’re mindful about it; they do it regularly, almost rigorously; and far from being just a respite from their working or creative lives, it becomes an essential part of those lives.

Those of us who are interested in how to work better don’t think very much about how to rest better."

"We need to rethink our relationship between work and rest. So work and rest aren’t opposites like black and white or good and evil; they’re more like different points on life’s wave. You can’t have a crest without a trough. You can’t have the highs without the lows.

But we also need to recognize that we can learn to rest better. Some of history’s most creative people, people whose achievements in art and science and literature are legendary, took rest very seriously. They found that in order to realize their ambitions, to do the kind of work they wanted to, that the right kinds of rest would restore their energy, while allowing their muse, that mysterious part of their minds that help drive the creative process, to keep going.

Work and rest are not polar opposites. In a good life, rest is not work’s opposite. Rest is work’s partner. They complement and complete each other."
2014  rest  pause  deliberaterest  alexsoojung-kimpang  work  howwework  creativity 
august 2014 by robertogreco
“Students will tweet for help... and expect an immediate response” - Contemplative Computing
"When I was working on my dissertation I spent a week at Exeter University. It’s a lovely place, I think-- I really saw nothing other than the library, though I did briefly visit the cathedral (I was still jet-lagged and so have almost no memory of it). But according to vice-chancellor Steve Smith, for undergraduates today, email is dead:
“There is no point in emailing students any more," he told The Times. "They get in touch with us by social media, especially Twitter, and we’ve had to employ people to reply that way.

“We have a round-the-clock team of press officers and graduates savvy with social media.

“Students will tweet for help if something has gone wrong, or a prospective student will tweet a question about the requirements for a course and expect an immediate response.”

Though I understand the consumerist logic behind this policy, I think this is the wrong way to respond. For all its having become less like a landscaped library and more like a mall with a really big bookstore, the university should still be a place where, among other things, you step outside your previous boundaries, and become a more sophisticated reader. Email isn’t that hard; but catering to the idea that it is, or that an institution should bend to suit your preferences and impatience, probably won’t teach good things in the long run."
alexsoojung-kimpang  2014  email  teaching  communication  consumerism  highered  highereducation  socialmedia  twitter 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Off to camping
"My daughter left this morning on a week-long camping trip with her class. Camping is a big thing at Peninsula. The youngest elementary school classes start with overnight stays in their classrooms, and by 8th grade the students are planning a couple weeks' worth of trips.

With twenty kids and about five teachers, there's a lot of gear.

Camping has been a big part of the school experience for years, and alumni talk about it as one of the most highlights of their time here.

This year they're going up to some park in the far north of the state. So in addition to all the usual stuff, they filled a trailer with firewood, and make up a convoy of four or five cars, vans, and trucks. It was hard to keep track."
education  classtrips  camping  student-led  alexsoojung-kimpang  peninsulaschool  2012  tcsnmy 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Journeyman again
"In 1997, after leaving academia for a job in the corporate world, I wrote the first version of this essay, and argued that the life of the mind could be pursued as effectively and happily outside the academy as inside. Others have since made the same discoveries and similar arguments; all challenge the traditional views of scholarly life, and the comfortable provincialism of academic culture. The world of learning is a big place; the number of worlds that will find good uses for young scholars is far larger than you think; and the limits your advisors think you live under don't really exist. It's time to find out how to live differently."
alexsoojung-kimpang  humanities  philosophy  academia  jobs  academics  gradschool  phd  highered  writing  life  learning  gamechanging 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Fred Kaplan on creative freedom
"Lots of creative moments combine prep & training w/ serendipity or the creativity that emerges out of responding to in-the-moment challenges or opportunities...Other creative acts are grounded in, or push the boundaries of, the nature & limits of the media you're working w/ (applies equally to crayons, Lie groups or reinforced concrete). The tinkering movement recognizes the fundamental materiality of most creative work & puts engagement with stuff at its Matthew Crawford & Richard Sennett argue in their books, the creativity of everyone from machinists to musicians is tested & tempered by the demands that their materials make & the traditions in which they work. In other words, thinking of "creativity" as mainly an expression of a psychological gift– a capacity to be creative– is wrong. Or it's incomplete. People aren't creative when they're free to do whatever they want. They're creative when they're free to experiment, to try out new things, to fail at the boundaries."
alexsoojung-kimpang  creativity  constraints  tinkering  serendipity  materiality  innovation  cultofyouth  risk  jazz  experimentation  milesdavis 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Paul Graham on meeting time
"Pre-industrial work ... was task-oriented: whether you worked in the fields or town, the rhythm of your working day wasn't determined by a clock, but by Nature and the work you needed to get done. With the rise of the factory system, and the growing specialization of labor within factories, the rhythms of work were defined not by organic tasks, but by machines and the factory itself: you worked a certain number of hours a day, and then you stopped. Work was no longer task-oriented, but time-oriented.

Of course, there are types of work that have always remained task-oriented, even when we're measuring or regulating or standardizing them using time. Cooking is one. Parenting is another. Babies are as demanding as any factory-owner, but as any new parent will tell you, they run very much on their own clocks. But today, when the two are at odds, task-orientation loses out to time-orientation: managers set meeting times for subordinates, some of whom are likely to be young mothers."
industrialization  time  work  taskoriented  meetings  paulgraham  alexsoojung-kimpang  specialization  industrialrevolution  parenting  timemanagement  specialists 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Cass Sunstein on deliberation and extremism
"It's conventional wisdom that groups generate ideas and plans more moderate than those of individuals. Groups and discussion encourage compromise, smooth out extremes, and guarantee moderation. It is also one of the unspoken assumptions of facilitation and group-oriented scenario work. Facilitation and scenario-building, the thinking goes, builds a sense of collective spirit by helping groups develop a shared vision of the future.
moderation  groups  planning  groupthink  ideas  futurism  alexsoojung-kimpang  psychology  extremes 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Vodafone | receiver » Blog Archive » Tinkering to the future
"Tinkering offers a way of engaging with today's needs while also keeping an eye on the future consequences of our choices...Today we tinker with things; tomorrow, we will tinker with the world...tinkering might look at first like traditional engineering, but it is very different. Both are about designing & making things; but engineering tends to be top-down, linear, structured, abstract and rules-based...meant [for]...large organizations. Tinkering, in contrast, is bottom-up, iterative, experimental, practical and improvisational: informal and disorganized, accessible to anyone who is willing to learn (and fail) and it doesn't follow any plan too closely...But tinkering also taps into human an amazingly powerful way to learn...not about mastering dry, arcane bodies of knowledge...about learning how to use your hands, materials & tools, scrounging stuff & ideas, learning from others & your own mistakes. Educational theorists call this active learning & they love it."
tinkering  diy  alexsoojung-kimpang  learning  future  tcsnmy  make  innovation  hacks  engineering  stewartbrand  wholeearthcatalog  problemsolving  autodidacts  experience 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Progressive education and the Silicon Valley model
"There are four teachers in my daughter's class of eighteen-- meaning if something is going on with your child, a teacher is going to see it. Most of the parents in this class seem to be involved in the school to one degree or another-- meaning if something's going on at the school level, we're all going to hear about it. Most of the parents spend at least a couple minutes in the classroom in the morning or afternoon-- meaning if something happened that day, they're going to find out. In other words, it's so informal, and so apparently laid-back, because of the number of eyes that watch the place; the density of the social networks that link parents and students and staff; and the high level of commitment to the institution. It avoids the structures and standardized procedures of normal education out of philosophical and pedagogical principle; it succeeds because there are enough people with enough commitment to make an unstructured environment work."
education  schools  children  philosophy  progressive  tcsnmy  learning  community  siliconvalley  teaching  unstructured  deschooling  pedagogy  alexsoojung-kimpang 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Anthony Grafton on graduate school, and the uncertain nature of big decisions
"bigger problem that people & organizations face when thinking about future: we tend to confine our research to cases that are relatively easy to find & look only at successes, not at failures. Getting a handle on that space-- or at least a more realistic appreciation of likelihood of unexpected happening-- is one of the toughest things you can do...After all, success is what we want & it's easy to understand; failure is what we want to avoid & people fail for all sorts of unpredictable reasons. Success if what a strategy, good decision or first-rate school can bring you; failure is what'll happen if you don't get those things. We don't explore the possibility that we could get those things, execute properly & still not reach our goal; but it happens all the time. Success, we think, is comprehensible & predictable; failure is random, or something that'll happen to others. But in reality, we're probably going to end up one of those others. We're better off if we know that in advance."
success  failure  planning  future  parenting  education  gradschool  learning  academia  schools  tcsnmy  blackswans  unpredictability  predictablity  alexsoojung-kimpang  predictions  organizations  behavior  psychology 
april 2009 by robertogreco

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