127. Max Frenzel – Time Off: Building a Rest Ethic

Max Frenzel is the Co-founder of Time Off, a platform to help people and companies deliberately practice time off so they can be their most successful and creative self. He is an AI researcher with Bespoke Inc, an AI Engagement Platform based in Tokyo providing multilingual solutions to hotels, airports and train stations. He earned a PhD in Quantum Information Theory from the Imperial College of London before becoming a Research Scientist with Japanese company Cogent Labs. Max has been involved with several start-ups focusing especially on the intersection of theoretical AI research and product design. As well as co-writing the international #1 Amazon Bestseller Time Off: A Practical Guide to Building Your Rest Ethic and Finding Success Without the Stress, he is also an active writer online and has been featured as Top Writer on medium.com in categories including Artificial Intelligence, Creativity, Writing, Productivity, and Leadership. Max also produces and performs his own electronic music under the name Taketile.

Max joins me today to discuss his book Time Off and explain his philosophy on the importance of rest and downtime in relation to keeping healthy and sustainable productivity levels. Max remembers his days as PhD physics student in London and how the freedom to spend his time outside of his thesis allowed him to expand his ideas and thoughts while travelling, marathon training, and investing in start-ups. He describes what his own rest ethic looks like, including the morning and evening rituals he observes, his meditation practices, and his inspiration from Twitter’s Jack Dorsey on how to allocate focus on work activities. He gives a quick lesson on the history of leisure time and holidaying and explains why an active physical holiday will leave you invigorated and awake, while the passive activity of slouching in front of Netflix for a few hours can leave you drained.

Quotables from Max Frenzel

“I’d say life is all about this search for meaning, whatever that means. I guess the whole point is everyone has to define this meaning for themselves”

“You should really see rest and time off as an investment into your productivity and getting things done and really finding this meaning in your life”

“Essentially creativity to me is about connecting the distant dots”

“We really don’t think that there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to your rest ethic. Like, that should look different for everyone, and normal leisure should look different for everyone. And you have to find out what that means to you”

“If you take good care of your body your mind will be so much clearer and sharp, and also stay sharp for a long time”

“Think about taking time off as an investment into your creativity and into your productivity”

This week on The School For Good Living:

  • How a relaxed studying schedule gave Max time to formulate new ideas in his leisure time without it feeling like work
  • Why being busier than ever made Max feel he was at his least productive
  • How Max formulated a working friendship with his co-author in a Tokyo to Texas communication
  • Why rest and time off should be viewed as an investment into your productivity
  • Why you should be very conscious of how you use your time and the kinds of rest you invest in
  • Why spending time on social media apps is papering over the cracks of an absence of meaning
  • Why the most productive rest is usually of the very active kind
  • How exercise can achieve a ‘flow state’ where ideas can flourish more readily
  • Max’s 4 phases of the creative process
  • Why ‘visible business’ is not as productive as it looks

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Max Frenzel:

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