Day 178: office outfit and importance of downtime

After almost 6 months working from home in PJ 99% of the time, I am super excited to wear some real cloth. This was my outfit yesterday, didn’t like the mask and face shield but they saved me from having to wear makeup. So not complaining 🙂 I spent only 4 hrs yesterday in the office as husband had to go out in the morning and I was charged to supervise the kids. Not bad, still got a lot done during those 4 hrs.

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also got new reading material for Sofia. I ordered some kids magazines for her to try. A different concept than books and she is enjoying a lot.

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I also got new book delivery and started reading this one. This is definitely not a genre that I usually read, about artist who I can’t relate at all. But I was intrigued to read this artist life as artist, and her writing is so beautiful.

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from Deep Work: #2 Downtime Aids Insights

Why shutdown after work day completely (no email checking, turn off the PC) is important? It’s important not just because we need balance in life, attend family matters, enjoy our family, and spend time for our hobbies. But what I learned was downtime actually is also important for the quality of deep work. This is because some decisions are better left to our unconscious mind to untangle. In other words, to actively try to work through difficult decisions will lead to a worse outcome than loading up the relevant information and then moving on to something else while letting the subconscious layers of our mind mull things over.

Experiments show that for decisions that require the application of strict rules, the conscious mind must be involved. Example: math calculation which only your conscious mind is able to follow the precise arithmetic rules. But for decisions that involve large amounts of information and multiple vague, and perhaps even conflicting, constraints, our unconscious mind is well suited to tackle the issue. This is due to the fact that these regions of our brain have more neuronal bandwidth available, allowing them to move around more information and sift through more potential solutions than our conscious centres of thinking. Our conscious mind is like a home computer on which we can run carefully written programs that return correct answers to limited problems, whereas our unconscious mind is like Google’s vast data centres, in which statistical algorithms sift through terabytes of unstructured information, teasing out surprisingly useful solutions to difficult questions. 

The implication of this research is that providing our conscious brain time to rest enables our unconscious mind to take a shift sorting through our most complex professional challenges. A shutdown habit, therefore, is not necessarily reducing the amount of time we’re engaged in productive work, but is instead diversifying the type of work we deploy. 

AHA!!! This was revelation and totally explains why so many of good ideas come out during my run, when my unconscious mind takes over and make the connection of facts that were being collected before.

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