Optimization Smackdown: Hustle Porn vs. Zen Porn

This story is part of a series on how we make time—from productivity hacks and long walks to altering the function of our own circadian clocks. Melody Wilding’s hair had started falling out. Her heart fluttered wildly in her chest even in moments of calm, and on the weekends she felt too drained to get out of bed. “I was 20 years old,” she says, “but I felt 70.” The problem wasn’t depression or disease or anything pharmaceutically fixable. It was burnout: a totalizing exhaustion created by Wildling’s self-described “typical type A, overachiever personality” and its hyperdisciplined fixation on productivity. Her mind told her to do more, but her body had had enough. The quest for self-optimization has long consumed …