Be Done

Decades of work from multiple different subfields within psychology all point toward the conclusion that regularly resting your brain improves the quality of your deep work. When you work, work hard. When you’re done, be done.

→ Cal Newport, Deep Work

Just because some things are hard to turn off doesn’t mean we shouldn’t turn them off. That goes as much for our phones & TVs as it does for our minds & our attention.

It’s easy to obsess over whatever it is we’re building. To go to sleep thinking about it & to wake up with it still rummaging through our consciousness like a hungry puppy.

But just like we get stronger when we balance the right degree of stress with the proper level of recovery, we will see things more clearly when we free our minds from staring directly at every problem all the time.

Create space for yourself. Create it in conversation, create it in nature or music or in service of something bigger than yourself & your own challenges.

It won’t happen unless you make it happen. Start with your calendar - block off some hours to spend with friends; schedule that hike or that volunteer opportunity.

It’s okay that you’re obsessed with the work. Just recognize where that obsession is helpful, & where it’s not. The only way to do that is to power down, to reboot, to refresh.

Don’t do it because you’re supposed to. Do it because when you do turn yourself back on, you’ll have the energy & the perspective you need to make actual progress.

Patrick Cummings