Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less  by Dr. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Listening to colleagues around SCPMG, I have observed several recurrent themes. Believe it or not, the most common theme isn’t the “in-basket” (although it is related). The topic I hear about most often is lack of time.

While I cannot alter the 24-hour day, in my continuous search for SELFCARE strategies for our physicians, I came across Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. Dr. Pang is the founder of The Restful Company and a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He has held fellowships at Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK; the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, UK; University of California, Berkeley; and Williams College, Massachusetts. He has a PhD in the history of science from the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a very gracious author.

In his book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, Dr. Pang debunks the myth that work and rest are binaries. He shows us in detail how “rest is work’s partner” and in today’s fast-paced world, rest is one sure way to stimulate and sustain creativity in the workplace. He argues that “taking rest seriously helps bring more of your life into clearer focus. Every day rest heightens our ability to concentrate and discourages multitasking. Protecting time for rest also forces us to consider whether a new opportunity, request for a favor, or demand on our time is really worth it”. Dr. Pang, citing both modern medicine and history, compels us to slow down and consider incorporating more rest into our daily routines.

In 2018, everyone is working harder, but not necessarily smarter. Dr. Pang shows us that rest makes us more productive, mindful, empowered and creative. Working harder isn’t the answer – the answer is working smarter. Working smarter means incorporating active rest into our daily routine. How many times have you gone for a walk or run and solved a complex clinical case or figured out a way to navigate through a difficult family situation? Why is that we can solve so many problems in the shower? Mind wandering allows intense creativity to emerge. It is not “wasteful” it is valuable and necessary for our quick paced, every changing environment.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly and encourage you all to attend our 2019 SCPMG Jeff Weisz Wellness Conference, where you can hear from Dr. Pang in person. Dr. Pang will be a guest lecturer at the conference, where he will talk about his research regarding rest.

I hope to see you there.

Dawn Clark, MD

OB/GYN Department

Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Offices

Chief Wellness Officer

Southern California Permanente Medical Group