The Importance of Play

This week, almost without exception, I’ve done no work.

I used to say the word vacation was dead to me, because no matter where I went I would always be spending a few hours a day working.

I expected this trip to be no different.  There are 11 entrepreneurs hanging out here in Mexico, all with laptops, and I expected everyone to spend at least half of their days working.

The reality has been the exact opposite.

We’ve spent the last three days doing nothing but playing.  I’ve played more over the last few days than at any other period in my adult life.

Jenny Blake Yoga

Daily yoga sessions are a must.

What does that look like?  Daily dodgeball tournaments,  trampoline jumping sessions, zipline gauntlet, turning our mini golf course into a real golf course, card games, pool and ping pong, and all sorts of other shenanigans that could really only be described as “you had to be there.”

How is it that you take a group of some of the most successful, driven people I know, put them in a compound together, and almost nothing ensues but play?

It’s because everyone here has their priorities straight.

Work will never go away, it will always be waiting for you, and you can do it at any time.  The magic that has happened here however, only lasts for a short period of time until we move onto the next adventure.  Why waste the current opportunity given to us just so that we can do something that can be done any other day of the year.

For me personally, this has been a struggle.  I’ve resisted the urges to come back and check my email every other hour.  I’ve put projects on hold, and to be honest, it’s been more or less the only source of stress in my life this last week.

Obviously we are all able to do this because we spent a lot of time working during the lead up to the trip, but this experience has reminded me just how important it is to play.  Take time each week to go out and do something fun.  All too often we get caught up in work and life, and begin taking ourselves too seriously.

It’s good to know that you don’t always have to be serious.  If you’ve been feeling bogged down or struggling with any aspect of life – consider doing some playing (whatever that means to you), you may be surprised by the results.

And with that, it’s time to get back to the zip line.

Justin January 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Sean,

Glad to hear you’re taking a break from work and making time to play. And don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone about your secret tweeting in between dodge ball and ping pong. Oops ;)

-Justin @LifeStyleRebel

Neale @ Living in Thailand January 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I’m just getting to that point of working all the time with next to no down time, ” I didn’t do a lot the 1st 9 months in Thailand” so I cant complain :-) I’m heading out for a few days in March and am seriously thinking of leaving the laptop home.

Michael White January 27, 2012 at 1:13 am

Yeah. I should play more. I gotta figure out how to retire early. It sounds like you’ve hit some gold. I hope it keeps up for you. All work and no play makes humans… dull? Hmm. Lololol.

Chris Fisher January 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I’ve just realized how important play and relaxation is myself. After spending several frantic weeks trying to get some projects closed before the holidays, my wife and I just moved back to China and have been visiting family for Chinese New Year for the past two weeks.

Initially I was stressed over the “lost” time, but once I just let go it became much easier to handle. In fact, when I stopped stressing and started taking advantage of the semi-forced time off, I was able to look at my business in an entirely new light. I saw lots of areas that I have for improvement, and many time wasters that I can safely cut out.

It’s easy to get caught up in work when you work for yourself. Have fun down there, it looks warm. It’s a chilly and smog-ridden day over here.

Kola February 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm

ahem *clears throat* so let me get this straight. you wrote this post (work) while on vacation? : ) j/k love the post and i think you’re right. it’s hard to stop and just relax sometimes. i’ve come to accept that “play” means different things for me at different point in time (i’ll spare your readers the details).
ps: i found you through Jenny Blake. she seriously rocks

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