You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.
I love taking time to do fun activities with my friends. It allows me to pretend I am kid again, let go and play! Kids are carefree, aren’t stressed out and they really have mastered the art of kicking back, relaxing and have a good time.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Efficiency only carries us so far. Even if we’re the most productive person the world, we have a limit to the energy we can spend and a limit on our output. As I’ve learned, focusing entirely on maximizing billable hours and trying to do everything and be everything to everyone is the wrong approach.
Those who have figured out how to integrate a balance of life passions and professional success have done one thing very well: let go.
It’s been scientifically proven that play is essential to a child’s development. Whether kids are hanging off the monkey bars, racing around on bikes or playing games, research shows that kids are learning about discovery, risk taking and building relationships. Play also helps develop motor and social skills and has been shown to stimulate the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s emotional epicentre.
As crucial as it is in childhood, our impulse and ability to play all but vanish in adulthood. But when we abandon it for more mature endevours (yawn), we’re sacrificing a lot. Play is a critical part of good mental health and it affects our ability to flourish creatively and, simply put, to lead a joyful life.
Brigid Schulte, a journalist based in Washington, D.C., and the author of Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time. suggests that the play gives lightness and whimsy that triggers our imaginations. We can then turn those play-inspired ideas into reality in other areas of our lives, like work. Conversely the more we squeeze the play or lightness out of our lives, the more the sense of possibility evaporates. And the ability to create something wholly new evaporates.”
I completely agree with this and say that my best ideas have come to me not when I am staring at my computer screen, but when I am out in the trails, riding my bike or spending time with friends or family.
Happy workers are more healthy and more creative, so it’s time to start giving yourself the leeway to be happy. The signs of stress and burnout are easy to spot… If you’ve stopped exercising, can’t sleep and are eating poorly, you’re heading down a road that could lead to a disastrous destination. Trying to compartmentalize the natural flow of work can lead to serious problems in your health and company-wide productivity.
It’s important to note that taking time off work isn’t laziness—it’s effectiveness. For example, there might be times when we have to put in extra hours to get the job done. The differentiating factor is recognizing there is a B A L A N C E and you’ll be much more efficient at work when you take some time out.
Being in a constant rush isn’t a sign of virtue. Sometimes you need to recharge the batteries of your body and soul, and you shouldn’t feel like you owe anyone any explanation for doing that.
*Thanks for the stellar starfish stall photo @RobertWishaw 😛