Perhaps the thought makes you frown, but it’s true: if you want to be more productive, it’s wise to cut down your working hours. During a sabbatical, futurologist Alex Pang learned he got far more done when he took more time off – and drew a clear line between work and spare time.
The importance of rest
“Work is hugely overrated. We see stress and working overtime as something heroic, as proof of our ambition or dedication to our work. From that perspective, a lot of people see resting as something suspicious or even sinful. And, at least as striking, they see rest as uninteresting, as a negative space defined by the absence of work. Whereas it should be an activity with its own goals and values.
Resting is what you do when you stop working. But these days, the problem for most working people is not knowing when to stop working. It’s never done, right? Especially since we’re all connected 24/7 wherever we go, it’s harder than ever to find rest. And we, our employers and our loved ones are paying the price.”
Enough is enough
“Nowadays I draw a clear line between work and spare time. It’s the one or the other, not a mix of both. No one has ever had a creative breakthrough or a massive epiphany while they were doing a thousand other things.
The voice of God can only be heard in silence, as any monk will tell you. I work until I feel it’s enough – that’s also something you need to learn: sense when it’s enough for one day and it’s time to do something else. I distinguish better between what’s really important and what isn’t. I hope my book, ‘Why You Get More Done When You Work Less’, will help people realize that work and rest are complementary. If you want to be successful, you need to balance them. Stick to that and your life will change.”
Text: Liddie Austin