I’ve made a resolution for 2015. I intend to play more.
That’s not a typo. I’m going to play golf. I’m going to play board games. I plan to spend time with friends. I plan to hang out more with my family.
Why? Because it’s good for business.
Of course, that’s not the only reason. Here are six other reasons why.
Play Frees Your Mind and Helps you Focus
Non-stop focus on solving critical business problems can become stressful. The intensity leads to mental fatigue. Play provides an opportunity to do something different. (Note that I didn’t say enjoyable, because, for many of us, work is enjoyable.)
Play gives your mind the freedom to wander; it allows for a lack of discipline. It gives your mind the freedom to explore. This freedom will ultimately lead to better focus once you return.
Play Gives You Perspective
Sometimes getting your mind off of work is the best thing that you can do to make progress. A fresh perspective is more important than anything. Some of my best ideas and deepest insights come after I step away.
Typically, I “can’t see the forest from the trees” when I’m deep in the woods. Walking away and getting out of the woods is the best way to free your mind to be more creative.
Play Enhances Creativity, Strategy, and Overall Brain Function
There are different types of play. Some use your imagination and exercise your creativity (Pictionary anyone?). Others flex strategic thinking (Risk?). Many card games require memory and cognitive functions (anyone care to quickly calculate the probabilities that the flop will change your hand or the one around you?).
Modern board games combine many of these functions together. The right kind of play will strengthen your overall brain function.
Play Promotes Physical Health
In addition to mental health, play can also promote physical health. Many forms of play require exercise for something other than its own sake. Joining your company softball team will get you on your feet and your blood flowing.
Play Improves Social Interaction and Teamwork
Many types of play promote interaction with others. A typical golf game might put you in the company of a “foursome” for several hours at a time. Poker night is as much about friendly banter as it is about the game of cards. Playing team games helps us to learn how to communicate more effectively and in different ways.
Play can act as an unintimidating catalyst for many to improve their social interactions.
Play Ensures that You Enjoy Life
Not to be forgotten: play can be fun. There’s a reason why kids naturally play. Play can help reinvigorate us. It can help reinstall our passion for life. This passion is essential for us to live life to the fullest — and will ultimately lead to better results in all areas of our lives.