Are You Living a Life of Play and Rest? | Commitments of Conscious Leadership #9
Are you living a life of play and rest? Probably not since we continuously hear complaints about not having enough hours in the day! The old proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” (or Jill a dull girl!) is so true and yet many have forgotten how to have fun, get re-energized and how to maximize that energy.
The Conscious Leadership Group (CLG) points out that conscious play is not serious – if it causes stress and worry then it is not truly “play”. An excellent example of conscious play is seen when watching children and animals. They don’t take play seriously. You can be focused and exert energy without including hard work and struggle – rather than resisting, try improvisation. As the CLG advises, adopt as the cardinal rule of improvisation “YES AND.” Conscious leaders give up trying to control what life is giving them and instead they make it fun by approaching life with YES AND. With other members of their team they experience the uncertainties of life by adapting, creating and changing – using the creativity and playfulness of improvisation.
As you exert energy in your playfulness, don’t confuse exert with effort. Effort suggests resistance – not so exertion.
Of course don’t forget laughter, which is a key gauge of how much play is going on both by the leader and by the team. This is not sarcastic humor (which is actually a sign of unconscious leadership) but genuine playful laughter that is contagious and infectious, affecting those around you.
People work and play differently so learn your particular style of play. Refer to Stuart Brown’s book, Play to identify which of the eight play personalities he lists is your dominant mode of play. When you consider which styles of play you most enjoy, then make it a point to see how you can enjoy more play in your life and with your team at work.
Research has shown that despite how most people operate, firms whose employees rested for at least 30 minutes each day were up to 35% more productive. Rest and play are both often considered luxuries firms can’t afford, yet numerous studies are showing the opposite is true.
When you and your team take a break in the day, go for a walk, do a creative play project, take a nap, or whatever relaxes you, you will be more likely to come back and suddenly see the answer to that problem or find your creativity and innovation are more developed. In other words, you’re more productive. Add to that by prioritizing, eliminating multitasking, and checking email later in the morning.
Fight the impulse to be a workaholic. It is just like any other addiction and takes a strong commitment to break. Just as conscious leaders include play and rest in their days, they also address the need to honor the natural rhythm of life – which includes the necessity of sleep for high function.
Make it a priority for you and your team to incorporate play and rest in your daily routines – and watch your productivity increase!