Rest by Alex Pang

  • Society undervalues rest, and incentivizes overwork (especially in the United States).
  • Many people associate their identity with work, and fear that they have no meaning or existence without work.
  • Mind-wandering can enhance creativity.
  • Rest should be deliberate: One should either be focused on working or resting, anything in between is wasteful and draining.
  • Rest is active: Taking walks and exercising allows us to disengage from direct cognition, which enables our subconscious mind to move freely and creativly on a subject. We can often find solutions just by taking a walk.
  • Working early in the morning can facilitate more creativity, as sleepiness reduces our inhibitions.
  • Leaving work unfinished overnight is a great way to ease into flow the next day. This concept is also prescribed as part of the practice of TDD (test-driven development) in software engineering.
  • A major caveat on a lot of these theories is that we still don't know how to properly measure what's going on in our brains. Neuroscience is not (yet) an exact science.

Most importantly, this book taught me that Armadillos sleep almost twenty hours a day! And I thought my cats slept a lot...

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