Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving By Celeste Headlee
Hey guys i have been reading a book lately it is written by Celeste Headlee and it depicts perfectly how the way of thinking of work and rest has shifted in the Covid-19 era. Read a part of the most representative about our era chapter.
Your life back – step four
Invest in free time
Happiness depends on free time, because we work to have free time. ARISTOTLE
Once I realized that I had organized my life like my workplace, I was dismayed to find how many of my choices had been influenced by the corporate emphasis on efficiency. I saw it everywhere.
I started by recording how I used my time and reducing my work hours, but it was clear that it took much more than that to break free. My attempt to disengage and draw a clear line between work and home is constant. I feel like the tree that grew next to an iron fence, and now, decades later, I find that my roots and branches are entangled in the iron. In order to free myself, I need delicate manipulations and a lot of patience.
For me, the next step was to put my multitasking addiction on the mat. And not just put him on the carpet, but put an end to him. When you try to multitask, instead of taking advantage of the mind's natural tendency to constantly alternate between concentration and rest, you lose productive mental power. The structure of my work life consisted of hours spent in front of a computer or in meetings, jumping from one activity to another until it was time to stop. This structure was not designed for my human brain and I had to shed it forever.
If you put your phone on silent, close your inbox, and really focus on finishing that report, research shows you'll complete it 40 percent faster, make fewer mistakes, and have plenty of time to do a short walk around the building to rest your mind.
Regular breaks are so important that they cannot be left to chance or your mood. I discovered that I had to schedule my free time as well, just like I schedule a yoga class or a business meeting.
There are two kinds of rest: leisure and leave, or spare time. Time left over is not real rest. As Sebastian de Grazia explains in his 1962 book, Of Time, Work, and Leisure, what we call "leftover time" are the minutes and hours we steal from our work time. It is time inextricably linked to work and is meant to recharge our batteries so that we return to our work refreshed.
Leisure, on the other hand, is something separate from work. It shouldn't be "contaminated" by work, in the sense that you shouldn't be checking your emails during this time or worrying about the impact of what you're doing on your work life. The purpose of free time is not to make you better at your job, but to let you enjoy the life you've worked so hard to achieve.
No matter how much time you spend focused on your work, when it's time to get up and take a break, make sure to really rest your mind. Don't text, don't shop online. Do not direct your mind to any work. Pause is good for the mind and is also an extremely fertile state from a neurological point of view. When you don't direct your mind to do something specific, the brain turns on its automatic mode.
The auto-mode network is activated when we allow our thoughts to wander. When the automaticity network is active, it works with our memories, putting past events into context and weighing things that happened morally. It also imagines the future, tries to understand the feelings of others and manifests our own feelings and decisions. The autonomic network is vital for empathy, reflection, and Theory of Mind, the ability to imagine what others might be thinking.
Allowing our minds to go into automatic mode is important to our well-being. This function is largely a source of creativity and innovative thinking, as the brain, when not directed at solving a problem or completing a task, rearranges the puzzle pieces of our memories and emotions.
In practice, your mind will only go into automatic mode if you allow it to wander aimlessly. This is not a condition of inactivity, as during this time you could be jogging or cleaning the house.
Psychologists Amanda Conlin and Larissa Barber warn that we often misuse breaks at work. "A key element of an effective break is psychological detachment," they wrote in Psychology Today magazine, "which means to mentally disengage and not think about work. By shifting our attention elsewhere, distancing helps us immediately reduce the demands of work that cause us fatigue and regroup naturally."
If you decide to call a loved one or a friend during your break, resist the temptation to talk about your work. Take a clear break. And, of course, don't go to the office kitchen to talk to a colleague for fifteen minutes about your business. Take a breath and pause. I laughed when I read a tweet by media strategist Stu Loeser, who wrote: “I'm sitting on the train next to someone who is sitting with her hands on her apron and silently looking out the window. He has not taken out a computer, tablet or phone. He just calmly looks out at the world as we pass him. As a mental patient would do." My response to Stu: "Sometimes that mental patient is me."
When you are not at work, you can not only enjoy your day off but have real recreation. You can completely cut yourself off from work-related concerns, and you should try to separate this time completely from your work. I understand that it is necessary to respond to emails and text messages quickly, but this habit is very taxing on your body and mind.
Research shows that workers who feel more disconnected from their work while at home are healthier emotionally and more satisfied with their lives. They are less likely to experience psychological exhaustion and, according to themselves, sleep better.
I think that, of all the changes I suggest, this is the one you can achieve most easily. I just ask that you don't stress, relax and schedule some hours in the day with this as your goal. As economist Joseph Stiglitz says, we learn how to enjoy our free time "by enjoying our free time."
Set aside some time each day where you will do nothing productive. Take a walk without a destination and without worrying about how many steps you will count. Get out. Group walks in nature reduce stress and reduce symptoms of depression, so go for a walk in the park.
I often put my phone on silent for hours and only allow calls and texts from friends or family. Business calls can – and do – wait. I've even started setting aside one day a week as a "no touch day" where I don't check my email or social media and just go about my day without any interruptions.
Every Monday I don't use social networks or check emails or text messages. If someone calls me I will pick it up, but hardly anyone calls me. Since adopting this habit, I can and do better block out distractions, and make the most of the day with writing and other tasks that require concentration. But the first weeks were difficult. I have to admit that.
On my first "untouchable" day I checked my emails over fourteen times. I didn't even realize I was doing two of them until someone sent me an email saying, "Aren't you supposed to be checking your emails today?" The truth was, my life revolved around my emails more than I thought.
Even though I turned off notifications for almost all of my mobile apps, every time I looked at the screen my eyes still fell on the number of unread messages next to the folder icon. Let my browser have included on the home screen and e-mail and inbox opened automatically.
Depending on the research you look at, the average adult spends about two to six hours a day answering emails, with at least a third of that time being non-urgent. I imagine that well over a third of these are neither important nor urgent. I could cite various studies and statistics, but they all come to this conclusion: email kills productivity. So it was important to break free from my email addiction if I wanted my effort to really work.
However, I found that I could not tackle this problem in isolation. I also had to take into account the expectations of others. People expect a quick answer. At this point anything other than an immediate response to a text or email was cause for concern. Most text messages are read within three minutes of being sent, and emails are typically answered within two minutes, according to analysis by the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering.
Here's how I solved (most of) these problems. First, on Sunday night I check my email one last time and activate an auto-reply that says, “I don't respond to emails on Mondays because I'm writing. If it's urgent, call me." By the way, it's been almost a year and no one has ever called me.
Second, I changed my email signature to manage other people's expectations of a prompt response. Now, instead of a thoughtful sentence, all my messages end with the following note: “I only check my email 2-3 times a day. If it's something urgent, call me. But what can really be so urgent?' In the long run I hope people will stop expecting an immediate response from me and feel comfortable even if it takes me hours or even days to respond.
Third, I changed the settings on my phone so that I no longer see how many unread messages are in my inbox, and every Monday I put my phone on silent mode so that I only receive phone calls.
The result; On one of my "untouchable" days I wrote 4,000 words before my brain caught fire. Then I baked cupcakes, walked my dog for an hour and had time to watch Netflix before reading a book and falling asleep at a reasonable hour. And I actually slept great.
I know, it's scary to take your foot off the gas, but trust me, you'll enjoy the ride that much more. You don't need any special app or guide to "make the most of your free time". Sometimes striving to improve what we do hinders progress. Stop trying to be something and stop for a moment; you can just be.
Of course, you don't necessarily need to go for a walk. I often choose the rides, but you can choose something else. You can watch a movie while your phone is off or sit in a coffee shop and read a novel. Do a puzzle or solve a crossword, tinker with your car or just take a hot bath and listen to music. Whatever you like to do when you have no commitments in your schedule just do it and don't think about work.
There's even scientific evidence to show that watching cat videos is good for you. More and more evidence shows that quality leisure time, meaning time truly detached from professional concerns, will ultimately make you perform better at your job and derive more satisfaction from it. "The science of productivity looks like an organized conspiracy to justify laziness," wrote Derek Thompson on the Atlantic website. He considers the items about leisure, holidays and cute animal videos "almost too good to be true".
Work is necessary and can give us satisfaction, but it cannot justify our existence. Remember that, biologically and evolutionarily, we are not "born to work".
Instead, we are designed to connect with other people and form close bonds with our friends and family. While work is a vehicle to gain other necessities, belonging is a primary need. That is why it is important to set aside time for our social life.
Now a good or bad book? I am not sure yet.