- Expected 14 Apr 2020
Despite our constant search for new ways to 'hack' our bodies and minds for peak performance, human beings are working more instead of less, living harder not smarter, and becoming more lonely and anxious. We strive for the absolute best in every aspect of our lives, ignoring what we do well naturally. Why do we measure our time in terms of efficiency instead of meaning? Why can't we just take a break?
In Do Nothing, award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee illuminates a new path ahead, seeking to institute a global shift in our thinking so we can stop sabotaging our well-being, put work aside and start living instead of doing.
The key lies in embracing what makes us human: our creativity, our social connections (Instagram doesn't count), our ability for reflective thought, and our capacity for joy. Celeste's strategies will allow you to regain control over your life and break your addiction to false efficiency, including:
-Increase your time perception and determine how your hours are being spent.
-Stop comparing yourself to others.
-Invest in quality idle time. Take a hot bath and listen to music.
-Spend face-to-face time with friends and family
It's time to recover our leisure time and reverse the trend that's making us all sadder, sicker, and less productive.
Journalist Headlee (We Need to Talk) joins the crush of authors speaking out against society's addiction to "efficiency without purpose and productivity without production" in this comforting, convincing work. She begins by locating the origins of "the cult of efficiency": before the industrial age, people enjoyed a different concept of work, one that did not consider time equal to money. Once "more hours meant more money," the concept of work shifted, and so, too, did culture. In Headlee's estimation, society drastically overvalues putting in long hours at the office and pursuing "constant improvement and the most efficient life possible" in hobbies, exercise routines, and even time spent with families. The cost of this, she writes, is high: it not only comes at the expense of true productivity (as opposed to "performative busyness"), but also of happiness. Headlee provides concrete steps to help readers take control of their time, "challenge perceptions," and "take the long view." For example, time tracking will help readers gain a clearer vision of their working and leisure hours, which in turn will help them reprioritize. While there is little new advice to be found here, this will resonate with readers who appreciate works in the spirit of Jenny Oddell's How to Do Nothing.