On being a little underemployed
From the Notes Vault
In the excerpts below, both Patrick and Morgan discuss the benefits of “working less”… with the following fundamentals:
(1) The need to signal that you’re a hard worker in terms of amassed hours is stupid
(2) It’s important to celebrate and build in times during your day to be curious and to just *think*
(3) Put your efforts to activities that actually make you more productive (and certainly don’t waste efforts when you’re not mentally ready to be productive)
However, I’d expand on this idea of being “a little underemployed” and “maximizing productivity”… Make sure you have enough mental flexibility permeated throughout your days. I don’t mean this in terms of hours, but in terms of optionality— to have the excitement and interest and time to think and pursue things not necessarily related to your professional tasks at hand. (Or whatever kinds of tasks you measure time and productivity in.)
I have personally found this benefit of mental flexibility to be very true over the past year. Most of my recent intellectual effort… thinking, listening, reading, diagramming… has been tangentially related to my day-to-day, and yet wholly different. And still— I believe that the freedom to be able to spend this time on new ways of thinking has made me *better* in my day-to-day work activities. I’m also hopeful that these efforts contribute to a more foundational layer of how I think about the systems of the world, understandings that I can continue to draw upon moving forward.