Although I know animals are wonderful teachers, I still marvel at what an incredible teacher my cat, Hana, is! For example, when I’ve been sitting at my desk for a long time, she’ll stroll in and start meowing at me. Sure, I can try to ignore her and the more I try to do that, the more insistent she is (e.g., her meows get louder, she starts strolling back and forth across my keyboard). It’s easier for both of us, if I just get up and follow her. Almost every time she does this, she leads me to her cat tower where she starts our “little game”. This is when she bats a catnip mouse off her tower and I’m to throw it back to her, so she can do it again. The message is clear (and you don’t even need to be an animal communicator like me!), it’s time for play!
I often talk about what a go-go-go society we live in these days. As a matter of fact, one of my recent newsletters, Rest Improves Productivity, was about how rest can improve your productivity. Play is another great way to improve your productivity!
I participated in a webinar recently and James Garrett (the presenter and the founder of Brain By Design) shared that our brains are like cell phone batteries. He also stated that our brains burn energy 10 times faster than other parts of our body. This means your brain gets drained really fast when we’re doing things such as making decisions, networking and even when you’re driving in traffic!
We all want to get more done every day. You may think that when you feel depleted, the best thing to do is to just keep at it. You may say to yourself, “I just want to check off a few more items.” Since your brain is running on empty, you may get those items finished, but it probably will take you longer.
This is where play comes in!
When you play it gives your brain time to recharge, kind of like plugging in your cell phone. The good news is that it doesn’t take long for your brain to recharge, especially if you are consistently making time to play through-out your day. Let’s go back to my play example with my cat, Hana. If I take 5-minutes to play with her every couple of hours, my brain is not getting as depleted and therefore can recharge more quickly. When I return to my desk, I’m energized and ready to tackle more to-do list items!
One thing to keep in mind, “playing” online or using an electronic device isn’t going to provide the same recharge as something you do away from your “screens” (e.g., throwing a ball to your dog). This is because your electronic devices can potentially be one of the biggest things that drains your brain, instead of recharging it.
Some other types of things you can do to play…
- Listen, or better yet, dance to music
- Have a conversation with someone special, especially a child
- Speaking of children, let them show you some fun ways to play (e.g., finger painting, drawing, molding clay).
Play is anything that lets you completely forget about what you were doing at your desk/computer and allows you to be creative.
When you’re starting to drag during the day (e.g., the afternoon slump), this the perfect time to ask yourself, “Is it time for play?”. If it is, do something fun! Then, when you return to your desk, you’ll get more to-do list items checked off faster and easier!
Now, I’m off to play “our game” with Hana!