When was the last time you made time to play?
I consider play to be something absolutely essential if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. That’s because play helps us alleviate stress and generate joy, which can help us to increase our ability to problem-solve and be creative (both essential skills for successful business owners!)
In his book Play, author and psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, compares play to oxygen explaining that,
“…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.”
But what is *PLAY* anyway?
In her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” Brene Brown breaks PLAY down into three elements:
It’s time spent without purpose.
It’s something you don’t want to end.
It leads to a loss of self-consciousness.
Why play is important as an entrepreneur
When you’re a business owner it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the never-ending list of to-do’s that are calling your attention. Many of the entrepreneurs I know describe it as being on a never-ending hamster wheel. You want to get off, but there’s just one more thing calling your attention…
Getting serious about making time to play is one of the ways that we can step off of that hamster wheel. Play can help us to be more in the present and to even tap into a state of flow. In the field of positive psychology, a state of flow is considered to be, “the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”
If you’ve ever been in “the zone” you’ve been in a state of flow. A lot of entrepreneurs find that they enter into a state of flow with their work. This is a great feeling, but it’s also a good recipe for burnout. We need to take time away from our computers, and from our businesses in order to give our brains and bodies time to rest and recover. Play is one way that you can get that “in the zone” feeling while recharging your batteries.
How to figure out what play is for you
This could look different for everyone, the important thing is to figure out what your own definition of play is. Ask yourself these questions:
What brings me joy?
What helps me recharge my batteries?
What games and activities did I love as a child?
Don’t get tangled up with the “shoulds” here. It doesn’t matter if someone else wouldn’t enjoy the activity – the important thing is that YOU do!
For me, one way I play is by traveling. I try to plan 1-2 international trips each year. However, play doesn’t have to be a big trip. I also integrate play into my daily and weekly life by going to dance classes, or even dancing in my kitchen. And my toddler gives me plenty of moments to stop and play!
I encourage you to try and find your own micro-moments to play and be spontaneous. These could be things like picking up an instrument, eating a snack you enjoyed as a kid, solving a crossword puzzle, throwing a toy around for your pet, building a fort with your child, or experimenting with new makeup. The important thing is to ask yourself – what sounds fun right now?
My challenge for you is to block off some time in your schedule to play. You don’t have to know yet what the activity will be, but make sure it gets just as much priority as your work obligations. Remember, being an entrepreneur is a marathon, not a sprint, and making time for play can help you stay in it for the long run!
If you’re struggling to take some time away from work for play (or any other aspect of your personal life) then you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs struggle with juggling the demands of work life and personal life. However, it is completely possible to be a successful entrepreneur and have time for your loved ones and yourself. If you want to learn how, schedule a free call with me so we can explore where you’re getting stuck and how my coaching program can help you.