what problem? give it a rest

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It’s painfully obvious that a great number of people believe a great deal of codswallop – from Brexit being a bona fide sensible idea, climate change not taking place, universal credit providing the socially acceptable alternative to foodbanks, gun ownership helping alleviate crime, to President Chump being in hock to the ruskies and so on. By contrast, it’s almost impossible for me, and you for that matter, to accept that we are one of those very individuals. However, try as we might to apply clear unambiguous logic, rationale and emotional intelligence to any problem, we are, in reality, just as susceptible to persuasive argument and conducive opinion as the next man. And more so if we also already want to believe it. To imagine oneself immune to fake news is fake news.

So, with all the massively testing and complex issues that face us today how much brainwork should we really aim to spend on resolving them? No, not zoning out on your next conference call, or pretending to be making notes in the morning meeting when all you’re contemplating is how to reorganise your sock drawer, but proper, full-on, undivided, concentrated thinking. The answer is four hours. Or at least that’s the studied conclusion reached by Alex Pang in his book ‘Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less’.

As it turns out, naturalist Charles Darwin worked for two 90 minute sessions during the day and one hour later in the early evening. French mathematician Henri Poincare calculated from 10.00am till noon, then 5.00pm till 7.00pm, and not une moment longer. The same toil features in the approaches of US President Thomas Jefferson and authors Alice Munro and John le Carre. Even the political economist and philosopher, Adam Smith, when working on the ‘Wealth of Nations’ had it sussed and he was Scottish for heaven’s sake: “The man who works so moderately as to be able to work constantly not only preserves his health the longest but executes the greatest quantity of work.”

My advice then to Theresa, Jezza, Emmanuel and Tiny Hands is don’t worry your sweet heads about the sh*g & hassle ahead, enjoy 18 holes, pop out to the allotment and go stretch your kitten-heeled legs in the local park. Little and often is the name of the game, the issues will still be there when you get back and you’ll be far better placed to address them in the right manner. Me? I’ve gotta fly, that sock drawer ain’t going to sort itself out now is it!