Remember to Play to Maximize Your Super-Productive Amazingness

All work and no play makes… well, you know. But still, if you’re highly goal-oriented, I’ll bet you routinely notice all the big and small inner and outer obstacles that pop right up when you think about taking some real time for play time. And this wired-to-work life coach can relate! So let’s go there. I want to let you in on what I’ve learned about the importance of play.

Really get your head in the playing game

First, let me be clear. When I say play, I mean real time out, not just sorta kinda pausing work mode. Instead, this is time to really turn your focus to having fun, fooling around, lolling around, adventuring, whatever you’re feeling, except working. This is step-away-and-come-back-refreshed time. For real.

Yes, this kind of play time is really, truly free of deadlines and devices, free from any and all projects. Free from still being in it and at it no matter what you’re doing or not doing.

Full disclosure, this isn’t the most natural thing in the world for me either. I adore all my projects and devices! And I’m also crystal clear that rejuvenation through play is important for all of us.

Though I’ll also note that some of you wise ones are good at making time to play. If so, celebrate this special superpower of yours. Celebrate the inner and outer life you’ve crafted that includes this kind of balance.

Get wise to your wiring

On the other hand, if real relaxation and play time are a stretch for you, here’s a baby step in that direction: gift yourself with a little time to get curious about the “why” of that. What keeps the pedal to the metal, with you all work and no play?

The truth is, there can be so much in the mix. I smile at my own tendency to zip around like the energizer bunny in ways that I laughed at my mother for doing for decades. She modeled it. And though as a kid I may have thought she was being silly or even wrong-headed (“just watch the movie, Mom!”), ultimately I got the message on several levels.


What keeps the pedal to the metal,
with you all work and no play?


Now I see it in my grown sons. We enjoy work. So we work! Given that truth, these days the image of a pendulum swinging back and forth is helping me to craft some balance.

Let the pendulum swing

Yes, let that pendulum swing, enjoyably. Time to work, time to play. Time to work… like your favorite playground swing set from childhood, back and forth and back again. And how about some sweet spots, some favorite win-win activities, right in the middle? How about the fun of finding a new kind of balance?

After all, a flow from work to play and back again is a dynamic you can count on, like sun and moon. Day and night. It’s all in the mix, beautifully.

And note the payoffs

In the yin and yang of all things, you—and your loved ones—definitely deserve play time! So do set it aside. Schedule fun time. Chill time. Even just as a grand experiment. Afterward, as part of this experiment in taking your foot off the gas, check in with the most goal-oriented part of you. Note the value of that down time.

A surge of energy? Fresh ideas popping up out of nowhere? Less resistance to that thing you’ve been resisting?

I have no doubt that your grand experiment will pay off with practice. Let me know! Meanwhile I’ve gotta go plan the day trip that’s been calling me. :)

Teresa Young