Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-downtime/

the mind obliquely solves tough problems while daydreaming — an experience many people have had while taking a shower. Epiphanies may seem to come out of nowhere, but they are often the product of unconscious mental activity during downtime

Solutions emerge from the subconscious in this way only when the distracting task is relatively simple, such as solving an anagram or engaging in a routine activity that does not necessitate much deliberate concentration, like brushing one’s teeth or washing dishes.

Psychologists have established that vacations have real benefits. Vacations likely revitalize the body and mind by distancing people from job-related stress; by immersing people in new places, cuisines and social circles, which in turn may lead to original ideas and insights; and by giving people the opportunity to get a good night’s sleep and to let their minds drift from one experience to the next, rather than forcing their brains to concentrate on a single task for hours at a time.

In a four-year study, Leslie Perlow of the Harvard Business School and her colleagues tracked the work habits of employees at the Boston Consulting Group. Each year they insisted that employees take regular time off, even when they did not think they should be away from the office. In one experiment each of five consultants on a team took a break from work one day a week. In a second experiment every member of a team scheduled one weekly night of uninterrupted personal time, even though they were accustomed to working from home in the evenings.

After five months employees experimenting with deliberate periodic rest were more satisfied with their jobs, more likely to envision a long-term future at the company, more content with their work — life balance and prouder of their accomplishments.​

So what should you do?

get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, to use all their vacation days, take power naps and many small breaks during the day, practice meditation, and tackle the most challenging task first thing in the morning so they can give it their full attention

Why you shouldn’t work at full capacity

Why you shouldn’t work at full capacity

“The Project: Time Off report found zero correlation between time spent working and career progression. Quite the contrary, “people reach a maximum threshold,” Denis explains. “Even though they may be at the office longer — or are working longer hours — it doesn’t mean they’re producing any more than their peers.””

““When I start my new role it won’t be about me jumping into everything,” he says. “I’ll still do my job, of course, but I’ll make it much more of a team-based effort.””

Why you shouldn’t work at full capacity

“The Project: Time Off report found zero correlation between time spent working and career progression. Quite the contrary, “people reach a maximum threshold,” Denis explains. “Even though they may be at the office longer — or are working longer hours — it doesn’t mean they’re producing any more than their peers.””

““When I start my new role it won’t be about me jumping into everything,” he says. “I’ll still do my job, of course, but I’ll make it much more of a team-based effort.””

Sounds like a nightmare:

Sounds like a nightmare:

“As it turns out, eliminating “the human element” doesn’t make it go away. Worse, it leads to an undercurrent of resentment. At Zappos, dissatisfaction with Holacracy played a role (though it wasn’t the only reason) in a third of the company walking out the door in 2015. That same year, Zappos dropped off of Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work for list” for the first time in years.”

Sounds like a nightmare:

Sounds like a nightmare:

“As it turns out, eliminating “the human element” doesn’t make it go away. Worse, it leads to an undercurrent of resentment. At Zappos, dissatisfaction with Holacracy played a role (though it wasn’t the only reason) in a third of the company walking out the door in 2015. That same year, Zappos dropped off of Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work for list” for the first time in years.”

Priorities

I loved Bruce Schneier’s post on priorities. I appreciated his positive attitude on what can be done going forward rather than wallowing in what has gone wrong in the past. Not everything turned out the way everyone wanted. It’s good to understand why. And it’s good to improve things.

I am in particular concerned about the erosion of checks and balances in our government. The founding fathers did a pretty good job of balancing things out. We’ve made changes. The country has historically had some very poor presidents with little impact because they were so limited what they could do. Many people are concerned that is no longer the case.

But the area I can personally do the most is trying to build technology that preserves security and privacy, so I’m excited by Bruce’s list. Let’s go do this.

I am lazy and gave up on PGP email security years ago.

I am lazy and gave up on PGP email security years ago. The long term security of the key is a much better reason than mine. My reason was network effect. No one in my network of friends or family will ever setup or deal with encryption keys. Its just too complicated. I can’t even convince them to try Signal. Just too much friction.

Moving to Canada

Funny video — 28% of Americans claim they would move to Canada if Trump was elected. Obviously this is over-reacting by a lot of people that don’t realize how cold it gets in Canada. But it got me thinking, what would that do to the population of Canada? Because America has nearly 10x the population:

US Population: 322 million.
Canada Population: 36 million
28% of 322 million: 90.16 million.

Whaaat? 28% of the US population would more than double the Canadian population. I don’t think they have enough Dunkin’ Donuts for this many people. If even 1% of the US Population actually carried through the threat to move, it would be nearly a 10% increase in the Canadian population. Crazy.