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Play at Work

play child’s play: something that’s easy to do.

We often don’t think about it, but play is actually child’s work. It’s all we had to do as kids and we learned essential skills by doing it.



Then we grew up. Work becomes work. Play is what we do after all the work is done.

We see it as a trade-off. We work at our jobs. We get home and work on our chores. Maybe we’ll get some time to just have fun this weekend … or next … or when we take a vacation … but who has the time to do that these days? Oh well. That’s life.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We have a choice. We can integrate our work and play.

We can hear the objections already …

  • I need more play time. I don’t need to try to make work fun.
    Here’s where we need to learn a lesson from kids. If you can make your work feel like play, then you can play all the time.
  • No way. I can’t have fun at work. It’s just a job, not my dream job.
    We all have the power to choose. When we were kids, if we got tired or bored with whatever activity we were doing, we would do something else.
  • Times are tough. I’m happy just to have a job.
    This is a good point. As adults, we have responsibilities we didn’t have as kids. But just because we can’t change our situation instantly doesn’t mean we have to be stuck in it for the rest of our lives.

3 tips to make work seem like play

  • Love what you do
    We hear this all the time. You should do what you’re passionate about. We agree – it’s great if you can get paid to do what you love. That’s the ideal way to integrate work and play.

But we also think that passion is overrated. Instead, you may love why you do what you do. Perhaps your job gives you the income and the time away to pursue what you’re truly passionate about. You can still love your work because it’s the means to do what you really love.

  • Love who you work with
    Kids don’t play with kids they don’t like. Why should we? You may be in the right job in the right industry, but you’re in the wrong place. So change departments. Or companies. Granted you may not be able to make this happen overnight. But you can love what you do while you look for the right group to do it with.

  • Love the process
    This may be the main lesson we can learn from child’s play. They’re not worried about the result. They enjoy the process. In that process, they learn. They express their creativity. They socialize. They have fun. We put so much focus on the result that we forget the journey is the part that’s fun!

If you don’t love what you do, who you do it with, and the process of doing it, then how can you ever be happy? How will you grow? Where will you find meaning in your life?

If you do love what you do, who you do it with, and the process of doing it, then your work is your play. What could be better than playing all day? Better get back to it … another kid’s eyeing your toys!


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(Image by DoortenJ)