How often do you play? Do you get goofy and giggly with friends? Do you wrestle with your kids? Do you have water balloon fights, Silly String battles, or foam dart wars?
When was the last time you climbed a tree? Or flew a kite? Or organized a neighborhood game of hide-and-go-seek after dark?
Think about all the things you did for fun as a kid. Especially in the summertime.
On my short list, we went for bike rides to nowhere… we played games of kickball and 500… we had regular nighttime rounds of kick-the-can… we went to the local park to swing and slide and swim. We played tennis and basketball. We drew with sidewalk chalk and flew up and down the block on roller skates. We put on carnivals for the younger kids and organized lemonade stands. We built forts that we turned into entire new worlds in our minds.
All these childhood games might seem like a waste of time in an adult’s tightly-scheduled world. After all, you’ve got bills to pay and a house to keep up. Maybe you have kids to chauffeur around. Or volunteer commitments you need to keep.
In other words, you’ve got responsibilities. And maybe not so much time to play.
But play is important. Just as important now as when you were a kid.
When you play — and by play, I mean do anything that brings you somewhat aimless pleasure — you tap into a host of benefits that will make you a better writer and a happier person.
Regular play boosts your creativity. It helps you solve problems. It helps you maintain your focus for longer. It improves your relationships — especially with the people who share in your playtime activities. It helps you learn faster. It improves your memory and your blood pressure and your overall sense of well-being.
Now, you may be thinking that the kind of play you did as a kid doesn’t have the same appeal now as it did then. That’s okay. You can still make play an integral part of your life… just grown-up style.
Join a recreational sports league.
Or set up a weekly or monthly board game night with your friends.
Turn on music when you’re home alone and dance. Or juggle.
Play fetch with your dog. Take up Frisbee golf. Buy a model airplane to build.
The point is to just let go — regularly — and spend time doing something you enjoy with absolutely no expectation on the outcome. You’re just having a good time.
And I don’t care what anyone says… a nighttime game of kick-the-can is always fun, no matter how many years you have under your belt.
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Mark Your Calendar
June 23rd: This Thursday, join me as I interview Candice Lazar and Hayley Michaels. Our Reality Bloggers will be giving us an update on their goals and also sharing the tricks they use to stay on track.
June 28th: Living the writer’s life is amazing. But it can also be overwhelming. To keep your journey on the amazing side, I’ve put together a list of 10 tricks and tools that will make your life easier. I share them in a live webinar next week. I hope you’ll join me!
Around the Web
Learn more about play and how it can help you be more successful (especially when you measure in terms of happiness).
From Copyblogger, a way to finish more articles while doing better quality work.
“Customer loyalty isn’t a purchasable commodity. It’s a present — you can’t force it, but only earn it.” Kissmetrics shares four ways to earn that loyalty.
Knowing what you can control and what you can’t, what you can influence and what you can’t, is the first step toward putting your energy and effort toward a productive end.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!