When I was a kid, I loved to play. Whether it was building towers with blocks, creating imaginary worlds with my action figures, or exploring the woods with my friends, playtime was the best part of my day. But as I grew older and started to take on more responsibilities, I began to think that play was a waste of time. I believed that the only way to succeed was to work hard and stay productive all the time. However, I soon found myself feeling bored, stressed, and unmotivated. Only when I rediscovered the joy of play did I feel more creative, inspired, and happy.
I like incorporating play into my life by revisiting some of my favourite childhood games on my Miyoo mini Plus game handheld. There’s something nostalgic and comforting about playing old games like Pokemon and Super Mario that reminds me of simpler times. It’s a fun and lighthearted way to take a break from work and tap into my creativity. I also like to play tennis. It’s a great way to stay active and competitive while enjoying the outdoors.
Similarly, watching movies or TV shows can be a great way to relax and take a break. When I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I like to put on a movie or TV show that I’ll enjoy and let myself get lost in the story for a little while. Right now, I am looking forward to watching Stranger Things, as I’ve heard great things about it.
Why Taking Time to Play is Important
Research shows that taking breaks and engaging in activities you enjoy can significantly impact mental health and work performance. According to an American Psychological Association study, regular breaks can reduce stress, improve mood, and increase productivity. Another study found that play can enhance creativity and problem-solving skills, making it a valuable tool for innovation and progress.
Improve Problem-Solving Skills
I know firsthand how challenging it can be to find time to play. Between client work, deadlines, and endless to-do lists, it can feel like there’s never a spare moment to let loose and have fun. But here’s the thing: taking time to play isn’t just a frivolous activity. In fact, it has powerful benefits for your creativity, problem-solving skills, and overall well-being. Whether figuring out how to make a website more user-friendly or creating a creative solution for a branding challenge, problem-solving is always on the agenda.
But sometimes, the answer just isn’t coming to me. That’s where play comes in. When we play, we’re able to approach problems in a more relaxed and playful way. This can help us access different parts of our brains and develop new and innovative solutions to our challenges. Play is a way to shake up my thinking and approach problems from a new angle. Whether playing a game of Tetris or running in nature, play helps me clear my mind and see things in a different light. So if you’re stuck on a problem, try taking a break to play. You might come up with the solution you’ve been looking for.
Keep the Joy of Play Alive with Side Projects
One of the best ways to incorporate play into your life is by creating non-commercial side projects. As a designer, you likely have many creative ideas that may not be feasible for commercial projects, but that doesn’t mean you should discard them. In fact, these ideas can be the perfect starting point for a fun side project that allows you to explore your creativity without any constraints. Whether designing a website for a cause you care about, creating a personal blog, or experimenting with new design tools and techniques, a side project can be an excellent way to hone your skills, express your unique style, and connect with other like-minded designers. Plus, it’s a great way to keep your passion for design alive and ensure you always stay in touch with the joy of play.
Starting this newsletter as a fun project
You know what they say, “You learn something new every day.” Starting my newsletter was a crash course in that. As a designer, I have a good handle on things. But boy, was I wrong! The moment I hit that “send” button on my first newsletter, I realised I had so much to learn. It was a never-ending cycle of reinvention and learning, from crafting engaging subject lines to segmenting my audience to writing compelling content.
Sure, there were moments of doubt and frustration along the way. Like the time I accidentally hit “delete” on an entire issue or the time I spent hours agonising over the perfect headline. Or when I accidentally sent my draft to the wrong list instead (whoops!). But despite the challenges, it was also a lot of fun. I found joy in exploring new ideas, experimenting with different formats, and connecting with my readers. Writing a newsletter has been a fantastic opportunity to refine my writing skills and connect with a broader audience. I love hearing from my subscribers and getting feedback on what they find valuable or interesting.
So, if you’re ever thinking about starting your newsletter or side project, go for it! It might be scary initially, but the rewards are worth it. Plus, who knows? You might surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish when you let yourself play and have a little fun.
Incorporating more play and fun into your daily routine. Here are some tips and advice for your daily routine:
Create a Side Project: If you’re feeling creatively stuck in your work, try creating a side project for fun. This could be anything from a personal website to a short film or craft project. The key is to choose something you’re passionate about, allowing you to explore your creativity in a new way.
Go Outside: Spending time in nature is a great way to recharge and reduce stress. Whether you take a walk, ride a bike, or simply sit in the sun, being outside can help clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective on your work.
Play Games: Playing video games, board games, or card games – is a fun and engaging way to take a break from work. Games can help reduce stress and increase cognitive function, making them a valuable tool for boosting productivity and creativity.
Watch Movies and Series: Watching movies and TV shows can be a great way to unwind and escape from the stresses of work. Whether you prefer comedy, drama, or action, there’s a show or movie out there that will capture your attention and help you relax.