You, but Fitter, Happier and More Productive

Tune up by tuning out

By The Editors

You, but Fitter, Happier and More Productive
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04 March 2016

In his book Essentialism, productivity expert Greg McKeown salutes the German designer Dieter Rams.

Rams’s mantra: “Weniger, aber besser.”

Less, but better.

McKeown’s perspective: maximalist modern workers do many things, but badly. A problem that begins with our addiction to screens.

Today is our National Day of Unplugging: a 24-hour respite from devices.

We’ve got three plans for your grid-effacing needs: one’s an afternoon, one a weekend, one indefinite.

Head to your nearest park. But if you’re looking for something with lasting power, consider this Finding Ease workshop at the SF Zen Center, conceived for anyone feeling anxious or stressed from the first email of the day to the last. It might look weird, but it works.


Sausalito is barely over the bridge, but once you’re there, it’s easy to pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist — especially when tucked into a seaview room (with a fireplace) in Casa Madrona’s mansion, a commanding example of 19th-century residential architecture. If you haven’t been sleeping well, check in at the spa for a soothing aloe wrap followed by a massage — you’ll be asleep halfway through it. (A feature, not a bug.)


True story: In the middle of a holiday weekend, your correspondent here had a crucial Skype call — but no problem, the B&B had a Wi-Fi connection. Until, of course, it didn’t. Cue apoplexy — until the innkeeper said, “You’re very upset and I’m taking you to the lake to feed the ducks.” Your correspondent: “I wouldn’t need to feed the goddamn ducks if the Wi-Fi worked!”

But I went to the lake and fed the ducks. I still maintain the Wi-Fi should have worked, but the reaction was the reaction of someone who required a stress intervention. A serious reboot. And that’s what’s on offer at Esalen, which you may very well recognize as the Big Sur retreat where Don Draper figured out how to co-opt the hippie movement for Coke. Bigger, better revelations are probably in store for attendees to workshops like A Time to Reflect, which is less structured and less intimidating, we’d say, than a typical offering.

If it worked for a philandering, alcoholic prostitute’s son, it probably has something for all of us.

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