Why we need to play more

The other day, I was watching my kid play by sliding down the carpeted stairs in our house and landing on the floor below.

He did it over and over again, busting out in fits of laughter every time, and he never minded the bumps along the way down–he was just totally digging the ride.

Naturally, seeing a human being so ridiculously happy just playing got me thinking about life and how important it is sometimes to just stop sometimes and play.

There’s a reason why, after a long morning of learning, teachers let kids out for recess: because ‘play’ is just as important as hard work.

It shakes the brain out of predictability and stagnancy, and allows us to just be.

Despite this, some time before high school, we stop giving ourselves a chance to just do things that aren’t related to assignments or tasks.

The same goes for how we work in the professional world:

We’re so caught up in getting things done and meeting deadlines that we rarely have time to lose ourselves in play, but we really need to in order to continue to absorb new things the way kids do.

That’s because when we break routine and let our minds roam, we refuel and see the world–and all of its problems challenges–differently.

Three reasons why you should let yourself–and the people around you–play.

1. You’ll finally get the answers to important questions.

Spend a lot of time working on the same problem or doing the same thing and your brain will grow ridiculously tired of the task at hand.

This means your brain gets fatigued and anything you come up with will probably suck.

Despite what you may think, forcing yourself to always power through this phenomenon won’t make you stronger–it will make you weaker.

For the love of your brain, get away from your desk, the problem, the routine and do something unstructured for a little while.

Your brain will thank you.

2. You’ll learn how to enjoy the ride.

Yes, my baby tweets, but he’s also pretty bad ass at just taking some time to slide down the stairs or whatever he wants to do.

Adults have forgotten how to do this, but we need to go back to basics, and this especially true for entrepreneurs.

It’s cool that so many people are getting interested in entrepreneurship these days, but it’s troubling to see so many
folks looking at entrepreneurship like it’s a checklist to complete or something.

That’s not the goal to which we should all aspire and it will cause burn out.

Enjoy the ride.

3. Happy people make better startups.

Hell, happy people make better everything but honestly, in a startup this is even more important.

You don’t want to be running a day care center but you sure as hell don’t want your startup to feel like an assembly line.

Strike the right balance by making it ok to either play in your office or set up a time where people can do what they need to do to check out for a little bit.

Contrary to popular belief, giving them time to let their brains roam will actually make them more productive if you do it the right way.

Ever try to meet a series of deadlines at work, struggling to stay awake and keep on chipping away at a problem?

Feel like the work you do during those times is amazing?

Didn’t think so.

Although some small percentage of us might produce good work when we push the limits, most of us produce pure crap when we do this.

So, go ahead, start sliding down the stairs every once in a while, just because.

You’ll thank me (and my kid) for it.