We have just begun a new year. Many have set some ambitious goals. Turned over a new leaf. Added this and subtracted that. But as we go through the various lists, something appears to be missing. Play Time.
We have even taken it out of our educational system. Recess seems to be a thing of the past. Play time is no longer valued. It’s missing in my own life. Perhaps one reason is that I grew up with a dad who thought play was a curse word…almost. My dad was obsessed with work, efficiency, and production. But deep down in my dad’s soul was a yearning to play.
In fact, one memory of working for my dad stands out. It was the day the unthinkable happened. It was a cold morning one winter. Four of us were up on the building: my brother Mark, Mike, Scott, and me. Out of nowhere, dad climbs off the ladder and comes walking across the building. Familiar sight.
And then it happened. Dad stunned as with his first words. We should have been sitting down. He said, “Let’s go skiing.” Our jaws dropped. Dad never, never, never, had fused work with play.
Well, needless to say, that day will never be erased from my mind. That day the five of us hit the slopes. While I can’t remember what happened the next day at work, I promise you we were more creative, more productive, happier, less stressed, and no doubt, even had a better attitude.
Perhaps like me, you, too, struggle with play time. But what if play actually made you more productive, more creative, better at anticipating and making decisions? Wouldn’t that inspire you to play more?
Today everyone has heard of Google and Pixar. What you may not know is that they have intentionally incorporated play into the company’s culture. Maybe they have learned the value of play. Perhaps I need to stop working and go play.
Even Jesus had his disciples get into a boat and spend some time away.
What do you say we stop for a moment and schedule some play time?
After all, this is the year that your productivity is going to reach new heights. It will be your most productive year ever!
And so the guilt trip begins. “I’m not being as productive as I could be.”
So we cut some downtime and fill it with more productive tasks. We take less breaks during the day so we can be more productive.
We’re convinced that if we just upped our intensity longer we could be more productive.
But is that really true?
And are we all the same?
Is it a sign of laziness to schedule downtime to refresh ourselves mentally and renew ourselves physically?
In the football world it’s well established that defenses get tired if they are on the field too long during the game. Actually they become less productive.
So before you give into the productivity guilt complex and rush into a new high performance program, make sure you allow for and schedule some necessary downtime.
Yes, you may feel a little guilty, but you will be more productive!