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Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving

by Celeste Headlee

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1275178,887 (3.91)2
"A welcome antidote to our toxic hustle culture of burnout."--Arianna Huffington "This book is so important and could truly save lives."--Elizabeth Gilbert "A clarion call to work smarter [and] accomplish more by doing less."--Adam Grant   We work feverishly to make ourselves happy. So why are we so miserable?   Despite our constant search for new ways to optimize 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 and reaching for a bar that keeps rising higher and higher. 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. As it turns out, we're searching for external solutions to an internal problem. We won't find what we're searching for in punishing diets, productivity apps, or the latest self-improvement schemes. Yet all is not lost--we just need to learn how to take time for ourselves, without agenda or profit, and redefine what is truly worthwhile.   Pulling together threads from history, neuroscience, social science, and even paleontology, Headlee examines long-held assumptions about time use, idleness, hard work, and even our ultimate goals. Her research reveals that the habits we cling to are doing us harm; they developed recently in human history, which means they are habits that can, and must, be broken. It's time to reverse the trend that's making us all sadder, sicker, and less productive, and return to a way of life that allows us to thrive.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
This book is a must read for all of us going ninety miles a minute day after day. The author stresses that you can be the best and accomplish all sort of things - if you just learn to slow down. the author has done her research, well, in fact, and provides great suggestions and solutions to lead a very productive, relaxing life. Highly recommend! ( )
  BridgetteS | Oct 10, 2021 |
  joyblue | Jun 30, 2021 |
I wish everyone where I work would read this book. Our culture of "always being on" isn't helpful to our creativity or our mission. People should learn to have lives outside of their job. That is what this book tackles: the need to cultivate a life and identity that is separate from your job. Headlee's prose is engaging, well supported by research, and thought provoking. ( )
  johnxlibris | May 8, 2021 |
Very thought provoking read about working too much and what that’s doing to us. It’s unfortunate that I figured out most of it through burnout at my job, but at least now I have researched reasons. I’m going to continue to refer back to it. ( )
  spinsterrevival | Sep 19, 2020 |
My best takeaway from this book is time perception - being aware of what you're doing and for how long. Personally, I've been under the impression that I'm overworking, but on an average, I've only put on about 50 hrs per week. This alone helped me not be tired on a Monday morning.

The author talks about women and multitasking and how perception is far from reality. Rapidly switching between tasks is our form of multitasking. Though women have an edge in switching quickly between tasks, it hurts them equally when things go south during "multitasking".

Knowing about Dunbar number and research-based evidence that our close friends are shrinking was very surprising. I did take pride in having a high number of LinkedIn followers, guess that's going to change for me.

"Buying time promotes happiness" - this was something that I was aware of and felt reinforced.

There's a guide-list provided towards the end of the chapter that might help readers. ( )
  nmarun | Aug 24, 2020 |
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"A welcome antidote to our toxic hustle culture of burnout."--Arianna Huffington "This book is so important and could truly save lives."--Elizabeth Gilbert "A clarion call to work smarter [and] accomplish more by doing less."--Adam Grant   We work feverishly to make ourselves happy. So why are we so miserable?   Despite our constant search for new ways to optimize 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 and reaching for a bar that keeps rising higher and higher. 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. As it turns out, we're searching for external solutions to an internal problem. We won't find what we're searching for in punishing diets, productivity apps, or the latest self-improvement schemes. Yet all is not lost--we just need to learn how to take time for ourselves, without agenda or profit, and redefine what is truly worthwhile.   Pulling together threads from history, neuroscience, social science, and even paleontology, Headlee examines long-held assumptions about time use, idleness, hard work, and even our ultimate goals. Her research reveals that the habits we cling to are doing us harm; they developed recently in human history, which means they are habits that can, and must, be broken. It's time to reverse the trend that's making us all sadder, sicker, and less productive, and return to a way of life that allows us to thrive.

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