#589 Deep Play

Have Fun Training Your Recovery!

Continuing our theme of attaining mastery sans the misery, let’s talk about Deep Play.

That’s one of the main things Alex Pang talks about in his book Rest in which he teaches us how to get a lot more done by, somewhat paradoxically, working less.

He tells us that if you actually look at the daily schedules of some of history’s most prolific creators, you’ll find that they don’t work all that much. (But, to be clear: When they work? They GO DEEP!!)

In fact, the chapter in which he walks us through a range of inspiring examples (from Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens to Stephen King and the creator of Dilbert) is called “4 Hours.”

4 hours.

Of REALLY Deep Work.

That’s about all these GREAT (!!!) creators put in in any given day.

Then what did they do?

Well, first I’ll tell you what they DIDN’T do. They didn’t blow themselves up with digital stimulation for the rest of the day and night. Of course, the historical figures couldn’t do that but still. (Hah.)

So, what did they do? Well, many of them engaged in what Alex calls “Deep Play.”

In fact, he walks us through some fascinating (and compelling) research about how some of the greatest scientists left the lab and engaged in sport-hobbies like hiking or mountain climbing or running while their less-impressive colleagues grinded away in their offices—working considerably more hours but achieving considerably less awesomeness.

For example, as we discussed in our +1 on Solvitur Ambulando, Darwin was famous for his super-long walks on his “Thinking Path” and was so committed to walking every day that he actually leased land from his neighbor so he could complete an elegant loop. He put in his four hours a day of Deep Work and then he engaged in activities that helped him recover.

Then there’s MIT Physics Professor and Nobel Prize winner Wolfgang Ketterle who ran the 2014 Boston Marathon in 2 hours and 46 minutes. For those doing the math, that’s a 6:20 minute per mile pace. For 26 miles. By a NOBEL PRIZE WINNER!!!

The underlying point that Alex makes is simple. It echoes what we talk about all the time. (See:+Making Waves + +Circadians + Ultradians, etc.)

In short: We need to work hard. AND we need to recover and rest equally “hard.”

And, Deep Play can be a GREAT way to have fun training your recovery.


Today’s +1.

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