Play and work-opposite ends of the spectrum, right?

I know this had been my belief for a good portion of my work life. When I was “at work”, I was intense, very serious, all business. I would leave work and a different persona would take over. I’d feel release from the constraints of my work personality, and become a more playful, fun person.

The only problem was that over time I found it harder and harder to make the switch from all business to playful. The work hours grew longer as I climbed the ladder, everything became important, and that intense personality began to predominate my life.

Work, work, work. Sleep. Repeat. I thought this was what being a grownup meant.

Unfortunately, I wore out people with my intensity. My playful side seldom saw the light of day. And my stress level responded accordingly.

Luckily, through a series of awakenings and listening to those wiser than me, I began to see that life does not fall neatly into two categories: “work” and “not work”. Slowly, I began to let a playful attitude creep into my workday.

I discovered that I could couple getting things done and being purposeful at work with a sense of play and lightheartedness. And, my attitude began to shift.

So, what have I learned? Play is not a waste of time. Life is so much more enjoyable with fun woven throughout all aspects of it. Play belongs in the workplace. It kicks my creativity up a notch. It helps me to use a different perspective, which often leads not only to a faster solution to a problem, but often a more unusual one.

Most importantly I’ve learned that work and play are not in opposition to one another—they are complementary.


Your Call to Action:

How might you incorporate play into your day? How would you feel doing so? Notice if your Inner Critic has entered the room. If so, shoo him on his way and promise yourself you’ll try a new way every day for the coming week. No matter what.

Feeling stuck? Here are some ideas to get you started: sing your to-do list, make faces at your reflection, throw a paper airplane, spell out a word with paperclips, dance along with a YouTube video, skip down the hall, walk backwards through a door, use your desk chair and twirl around.

 

Got the hang of it? Now go have some fun! 

1—2, cha-cha-cha; 3—4, I want more! 

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