By Sara Davidson
When was the last time you indulged in play or dedicated purposeful time to fun? If you had to stop and search for an answer, you’re not alone. Somewhere along the way, we trade play for productivity, wrongly assuming that the two are mutually exclusive. In reality, if you want to build a better business, you’ve got to make time for fun.
I don’t like the phrase "child’s play." It suggests that play should be exclusive to children, which couldn’t be further from the truth. By subscribing to the theory that people are "right brained" or "left brained," we limit our potential and stifle our natural propensity to be creative. In reality, our brains operate on a continuum across the spectrum.
Creativity fuels new ideas, new perspectives, and new ways of thinking, which are an asset and necessity in every profession and industry. Creativity is not limited to the fields of art and design; it is the driver behind the development of technology, manufacturing, strategy and business culture.
Play is also an important source of mental relaxation and stimulation. Numerous scientific studies have shown that incorporating fun and play into your daily routine fuels imagination, problem-solving skills, and happiness. Even more importantly, it reminds you of whom you are at your core. If you have ever watched a child engage in "make believe," you have no doubt experienced their innate talent for uncovering possibilities.
Kids don’t accept things at face value—they look beyond what is, seeing unlimited potential in what could be. With just a little imagination, a paper towel tube becomes a megaphone, a microphone, or a telescope. Kids exist in a constant state of innovation, but not because it’s a checkbox on their to-do list, rather because ideation happens by playing, living and doing.
Focusing solely on tasks and outcomes is a surefire way to hit a creative roadblock. In order to think creatively, your brain needs time to wander and roam. That is why embracing play as a business practice is imperative. When you turn your attention toward enjoying an experience—rather than completing a task—you are likely to discover that genius soon follows. We’ve all heard the expression: "Time flies when you’re having fun."
The same goes for inspiration. When you play, you live in the present moment and you let go of the fear of the future. It is nearly impossible to come up with creative solutions when we waste energy living in a state of anxiety trying to predict every possible future outcome and scenario.
At Hello Fearless, we work hard to practice what we preach. After our most recent course launch, I took time off to travel to Boulder, Colorado, for a long weekend of play and fun. The clarity I am able to find during retreats positively impact my business because it helps me thrive on a personal level. By stepping away and pulling out of the day-to-day minutia, I get a clearer picture of what is holding me back and what needs to happen in order to continue reaching personal and professional goals and milestones. I wholeheartedly believe that play has a powerful ability to reveal our true potential. I have come up with some of my best ideas, collaborations, content, and strategies in the throes of having fun.
If you want to build a better company, my advice is simple: never stop having fun.Make time for play and fun. Go play catch. Doodle. Go to a concert. Take a meeting while walking around the block instead of sitting behind your desk. Join a comedy club. Go on vacation. Do something that makes you feel good in the present moment. Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Making fun a priority in your life will make you a happier, more creative person, which in turn will make you a better businessperson.
This article was originally published on fastcompany.com