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Learn to Play to Learn

playing.jpg We recently did a show on the tradeoff between work and play. We said that it was important to make time for both productive play and pure play – things you do just for fun. We said it really is true – we do seem to get more done when we’re busy.

Ryan left a great comment on that topic. He’s one of our regulars and he often leaves comments. We love the feedback!

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Pre-paying for play plans improves productivity

He said that he’s learned that it’s good to keep busy with his downtime. So he goes to a sporting event or a concert just about every week. Because he’s paid for the ticket in advance, he feels compelled to go. That’s his secret – it forces him to work more efficiently to get his work done.

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georgeI had never thought of that little trick! We schedule fun activities of course. But I had never thought about purposefully and routinely scheduling an activity that I paid for in advance as a way to ramp up my time at work.

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marylynnIt’s a great suggestion. It’s easy to get so busy working that I fail to recharge myself by doing something that gets my mind off of work. By committing my money, I’m more likely to commit my time!

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georgeI’m one of those people who can go and go and go. But at some point, my body and my mind start saying, “Enough already! What are you doing to us? We need a break!” Ryan’s suggestion helps make sure that doesn’t happen.

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marylynnFortunately, and maybe unfortunately, George and I are very similar in that respect. I’m a bit of a workaholic myself. So we work very well together. But I agree – it would be helpful to schedule more time for fun knowing that I’ll be more productive at work.

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It’s about living with purpose on purpose. After all, we’re only human. We should live on human time! Plan something fun and pay for it in advance. You’ll be more likely to do it!

Ramp up your downtime

Ryan also said that when he was in college, he got better grades when he took eighteen credit hours than when he only had twelve in a semester. His personal observation sparked a thought for us …

… we should always be a student!

It pays bigg dividends to be curious about everything with which you come in contact, not just your area of expertise.

Since Ryan brought up sporting events, you can learn from studying the players – when they’re warming up, idle, in the middle of a play, or when the game’s on the line.

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georgeThis is something I do. It’s interesting to see the differences among players when the game’s on the line. I’ve learned a lot about operating under pressure by watching sports.

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marylynnAt concerts, there are a lot of details. The artist’s stage presence, the lighting, the way musicians play together, and even their hair! If it’s a symphony, study the conductor and how he or she leads. They’re masters of their craft and we can learn lessons that we can apply to our crafts.

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georgeOne of my favorite things to do is to be a student when I’m talking to people in social settings. I can read a book or an article, but there’s nothing like learning about someone’s occupation and interests first-hand. You get to ask questions and go deeper into a subject with a real person who is living it.

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marylynnWe have a friend who made a great suggestion that has forever changed how I watch movies. He said to think of yourself as a director. When the movie is over, ask yourself what you would have done differently. It gets my creative juices flowing and makes for great conversation afterwards.

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Always be a student. It helps keep your mind young. It expands your imagination. It will help you reach bigg success even faster!

Of what are you a student in your downtime?

Share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks Ryan for your thought-provoking comment. And thank you for reading our post today.

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Please join us next time when we talk about how to get to the greener grass on the other side of the fence.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00377-042109.mp3

Related posts

Mixing Work and Play

Taking Time Off to Get More Done

Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Work

(Image in today's post by davdibiase)

The Work-Play Tradeoff

playgroundWe recently saw an interesting study on how work affects high school students [pdf]. While the study is about high school students, we think us older “kids” can learn a thing or two from it as well.

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How does work affect homework?

The researchers examined how each hour of paid work affected the way high school students spent the rest of their time. They found that each hour of work reduced homework time by about five minutes, on average.

Sleep less

They cut back more than twice that amount – ten minutes total – on sleep. Maybe young people really are looking at us as role models!

Screen pass

The single biggest activity that they reduced was screen time – the average student spent 24 minutes less for every hour worked. The researchers defined screen time as:

  • watching television and movies
  • using the computer for leisure (except games)
  • surfing the internet
  • participating in chat room discussions

Setting priorities

Previous studies have shown that working only has a small negative effect on an average student’s performance. The researchers in this study conclude that they may have explained part of the reason. It may be that students who work cut back mostly on non-productive activities.

Why do busy people get more done?

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georgeThere’s that old saying, “If you want something done, get a busy person to do it.” I’ve found that on days when I have to get a lot done, I do. On days when there isn’t much on the agenda, I seem to step into a more leisurely pace and often don’t accomplish as much as I want. I do better when I keep a certain amount of stress on myself.

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marylynnI’m with you, George. When I have a lot on the to-do list, I’m more focused and less willing to allow for diversions.

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georgePeople who had juggled work and school were often my best employees. Their grades may have suffered a little, but the skills they learned about managing their time improved their performance in their full-time gig.

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marylynnWhen I think back to my high school days, I had a part-time job. I was a straight “A” student and was involved in several extracurricular activities – band, theater, and the speech team. I don’t know how I did it all! I certainly always had something to do. I was practicing for a competition or a show, doing homework or working. As a result, I can’t tell you much about the hit TV shows in the late 80s.

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georgeBut you know all about the music of that era! You’re a prime example of the students in this research study, Mary-Lynn. You pretty much eliminated unproductive play time. Your play time had a purpose.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Don’t get too down on down time

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marylynnBut I could have benefited from some play time just for fun. I could have used the time to relax and get in touch with myself.

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georgeI completely understand what you’re saying. I think down time is so important. I often find that’s when I work out a solution to a problem that I’ve had trouble resolving. I may be looking at the screen, but I’m lost in my own thoughts. And it’s a good thing! I’m away from the pressure of the situation and my brain just flows.

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In our down time, we may be more creative than we are in a more structured environment. So it’s good not to underestimate its value.

Work time is good because it helps us stay more focused.

Productive play is good because it helps us expand our capacity.

But be careful that you don’t get so busy that you don’t allow any time for purely play.

How has down time helped you?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for checking in on us today.

Please join us next time when talk about what to do if life on your own terms creates conflict with the people around you.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/0367-040709.mp3

Related posts

The Bigg Idea Behind Bigg Success

Taking Time Off to Get More Done

Play at Work

(Image in today's post by ba1969)

Future Shock! Why You Over-commit

shock You’re backed up with work. There’s no time to spare. You’re busy, busy, busy. You eat your lunch at your desk and keep plugging away. An hour passes, then another. It looks like another late night at the office. And it’s Friday. Guess you’ll be working this weekend. As evening approaches, you get a call from a friend who is chairing the fundraising committee this year for his favorite charity. He asks if you’d help raise money this year. The campaign kicks off in a month. Oh, what the heck you say – it’s over a month away. No problem!

You don’t think anymore about it. The weeks turn into a month. You get an e-mail reminding you of the first committee meeting. You’re just as busy now as you were when you committed to it. But now you have yet another obligation – you have to serve on this committee.

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The future becomes the present

A study done a while back showed that we do have a tendency to think we will miraculously be less busy in the future than we are today. So we say “yes” to requests for our time in the future. Then we’re shocked when the future becomes the present and we have even less time than we had before.

We’ve overcommitted ourselves … again!

5 questions to ask before committing yourself

The first question is simply a check. It may be obvious, but we didn’t feel we could leave it out.

  • How will this request advance me toward my goals? If it doesn’t, why say yes.

The next four questions aren’t sequential. They should be answered simultaneously.

  • If you had to do this tomorrow or next week, would you still say yes? If you can’t say yes to this question without hesitation, why commit yourself? But consider the next question before saying “no”.

  • How significant would the impact be on your life if you say yes? You may be willing to pay the price of overextending yourself if the pay off is high enough. If that’s the case, look at the next question.

  • How much time will it realistically take? You can only operate in a state of hyper-activity for a short period of time. If it will take a year, you can’t push yourself that hard. So if it’s a long-term project you may have to say no. If it’s short-term you may be able to say yes. In either case, consider the next question.

  • What am I willing to say “no” to or put “on hold” in order to do this? You only have 24 hours in your day just like any human. Will you sleep less? Spend less time with your family? Skip your next vacation? Be realistic about what you have to give up. Is it worth the price? 

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to commit (or not commit) your time in the future. You understand that you won’t have more time then. So you’ll be careful to only commit to those things which will make you a bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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We greatly appreciate you reading our post today. Join us next time as we look at the difference between being battle-scarred and battle-scared. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00267-111808.mp3

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