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Why Deliberate Rest Is The Key To Success


For many Americans finding time to rest is often the last priority of a busy workday. On Think, Krys Boyd talked with Alex Pang, founder of The Restful Company, about why deliberate rest is the key to more productivity and success. 

Pang is the author of “Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less.”  

The KERA Interview

Alex Pang on …

… the 40-hour work week:

“We’re living with this artifact of a workday that doesn’t really quite conform to or match up with today’s working realities. There are actually some companies that are beginning to experiment with shortening work days with harvesting the benefits of information technologies or redesigning the workday to allow people to be super focused for parts of the day and then in the early afternoon to get out of the office. They are seeing their productivity stay the same or even go up. It goes without saying that people are often happier at those jobs and more willing to put in the overtime necessary when deadlines are close or the unexpected happens. But they’re also better able to do that because they are better rested, and they are less likely to be dealing with chronic overwork or sleep deprivation or burnout.”   

… the different types of rest:

“We overestimate how inactive or passive rest ought to be. We have this idea thanks to advertising and entertainment that rest is something that involves mainly sitting on the couch binge watching and doing as absolutely little with your brain as possible. I think there is nothing wrong with doing that sometimes. I do it myself. But if what you want to do is recover the energy that you spend working, recover the mental energy, the physical energy, or if you want periods in which you are able to kind of let your mind wander and turn over ideas and maybe have new ideas, then it’s actually better to engage in what you might think of as more active kinds of rest, which include taking walks, exercise, even things that are more physically engaging or mentally challenging.”   

… how long school days affect children:

“One of the things that really struck me when I was doing the research for this book was the finding across a number of fields that people can really focus very intensively for periods of about 90 minutes to two hours and then they need a break. Your brain basically says, ‘I am done for a little while.’ I think that especially for kids, these schedules — where the day starts early and runs late and the assumption is that if you want kids to learn more — you’ve got to pack more and more into the day and give them more and more homework is really counterproductive.”