Once upon a time, there was young woman who loved her business. She loved it so much, she worked on it night and day. When she worked with others, she expected them to love her business as much as she did. She didn’t understand when people would take vacations, or breaks for that matter. She ate her lunch at her desk. She was dedicated! She was proud of her work ethic and the fact she would “do what it took” to succeed. After awhile, she was also burned out. No matter how hard she would try to sustain her performance, she just didn’t move as quickly as she wanted to. She lost her energy. And, then, she started wondering why she was working on her business at all. She had a full life. It was just full in ways that drained her.
It’s a nightmare of a fairy tale.
Yet, day after day, this is what many business owners do to themselves. They push hard. They lack working boundaries. Soon their life becomes work until one day someone asks them about their hobbies. The answer becomes, I work.
Awhile back, I wrote an article called “7 reasons why down time is not a waste of time.” This is a continuation of that article. Not only is downtime not a waste of time, it’s essential to re-energize, receive inspiration, and stay healthy. According to Psychology Today, workaholism is a disease. Those who work, regularly, in excess of 50 hours a week without extended time off or regular breaks are more likely to get sick. Additionally, relationships are affected and (gasp) they make less money, not more.
There are two types of full life: 1) the type that is full just to be full and busy, it’s mostly work, and 2) the type that fills your heart and spirit, it energizes you versus drains you.
So what’s a motivated person to do?
You have to work. But, what would happen if you told yourself, “I have to play?”
Step 1: Calendar it out. If you love your calendar, use it to help you build your new habit of play. Pick a color that represents play to you. Mine is bright yellow.
Step 2: Start slow. Remember, it’s not about running away from it all. It’s about taking time away to recharge, get some new ideas (no, you aren’t forcing these ideas by traveling with a way to take notes).
Step 3: Sabotage yourself. Go somewhere its not necessarily convenient to work, a beach, a lake, hiking, horseback riding, somewhere where thoughts can come of their own accord but you have to stay present. Persistent working is a hard habit to break. So set yourself up for success by making sure its hard for you to fall back into old habits.
Step 4: Enjoy. Allow yourself to get into what you are doing. Part of the benefit to play is the release of endorphins and dopamine. It’s that feel good formula that leaves you energized versus tired.
Step 5: Observe. Without trying to make anything happen you will see something is! You are sharper at work. Your body may feel lighter. You may be inspired. You might have more energy overall. And (oh no) you might want to do it again.
I would love to hear how your play experiments go. Drop a comment below. If you need help structuring this full life experiment for yourself, schedule 30 minutes with me. I swear it will be productive.