PLAY: the perfect way to reboot and boost productivity
Mugginess, humidity, barometric bearing down seems to have deflated lots of my clients over the past week. Work is going well: frogs being eaten, priorities adhered to and most daily habits achieved … so why then the deflation?
When the question is pursued and the basics of sleep, water, exercise and alcohol are covered, what emerges is a lack of fun. As a coach I am very prescriptive about fun and insist on clients booking in two Fun or Feel Good things a day. OK, so we can’t always go on holiday every day or even go out for lunch with a friend but there are things we can do for fun that fit into the timeline and doesn’t involve flopping mindlessly in front of the telly. Most clients look at me in bemusement at the start of the coaching relationship and SAY they are going to commit to doing two Fun or Feel Good things a day. But when things get busy it’s the first thing they drop. Then a week or two later they wonder why they have lost focus, become bored or strangely discombobulated.
They are really good at the Personal Growth element; totally committed to their course or language class. It’s just Fun that takes a back seat. Not the kids’ fun, they’re committed to that, “but that IS my fun they wail” (interestingly more men than women say that!) and actually kids are great role models. When we stop organising them and let them be “bored” they are great at inventing fun things to do …
But fun, play, awe and wonder are vital to retain our balance, creativity, peace and sense of flow. Kids are great at being fully present in the moment and this “mindfulness” can be a delightfully fast way of introducing play into your day. Take yourself for a 20 minute walk, even 10 minutes and “collect” things as a child would. It could be actual leaves, pebbles or rubbish or it could be street names, shop names or noticing things that begin with B. Just the act of noticing what is around you will refresh your brain and bring you into the present. You could print the lyrics to a song and sing it out loud, or sing along to the soundtrack? One of my favourites is dancing along to a favourite song – mad dancing, full out, using every genre until I fall in a heap laughing at myself. Admittedly I do work from home!
As we start to look for playful things to do, our playfulness spills over into the rest of our lives and we are somehow lighter. We begin to see our work in a playful way which lifts and speeds the process. We look to be playful with our family and friends which brings a little sparkle back.
When did you last do something fun, on your own, just for you?
What will you do today? Take time to listen to a symphony? Draw a picture, just for you to see. Play in your wardrobe, putting new combinations and outfits together. Play Solitaire, do some colouring in, stick pictures of your dog all over your desk. Play with your food …
Book a play date with yourself. Make it happen and bring more joy into your life every day.