What I learned week 7 2023

Do you know how to rest? I don’t mean fall asleep, thought there’s a technique to that as well. I mean do you know how to stop working, and recharge, in a way that lets you keep going over decades?

A productivity guru from Sweden recently said on a podcast that when you’ve learned to put some slack back in your schedule, you’ll find that it might still take up to two years before you’re fully recharged. I didn’t like hearing that. But the more I think about it, the more it sounds likely.

I do other things than work. I go to the gym, I hang out with friends, I read (a lot) etc. But I’m rarely carefree and relaxed. My mind still pops up work thoughts, and I keep adding notes and todos.

Humans are great stress-sprinters. Which is both healthy and exciting. But we’re terrible stress-marathoners. Being stressed over long periods of time leads to health issues.

Taking a page from the book Rest, what we need is to detach. Not stop doing things. Just detach from the stress.

“Relaxation, control, mastery experiences, and detachment all work together to promote recovery.”

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang — Rest

How we do that is a matter of some debate. But according to Cal Newport, simply stating an explicit term to ourselves could be enough.

“Schedule shutdown, complete”

Cal Newport — Drastically Reduce Stress with a Work Shutdown Ritual

This week I’ve been testing out having periods of time where I tell myself I can’t be productive, and I’m not allowed to think about work. I also can’t just distract myself with a movie or drinks or whatever, because if I do it’s too easy to slip into thoughts without noticing.

It has been really hard. And I’ve felt more tired than usual. But I suspect I’m only noticing what has already there.

An interesting side effect is that I’ve gotten a lot more work done as well.

Try it, let me know how it works out.