How Play Improves Your Work, Part 2

Last week (in How Play Improves Your Work, Part 1), we discussed our authentic play mode as defined by Dr. Stuart Brown’s 8 essential play personalities. We also talked about 5 ways play can improve our work: Cognitive development, Creativity, Flexibility, Collaboration and Connection, and Experimentation.

This week, we’ll take another look at the professional and personal benefits of play and explore specific strategies for incorporating more play into your work. You can read the simple worksheet below and also download it here.

Incorporating More Play into Your Work

The following worksheet gives you a tool to begin thinking about how you could incorporate more play into your day-to-day work. The first one is an example to help you get thinking. Play around with it!

Strategies: 1. Start every meeting with an icebreaker. 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

Improved brain function – Pursuing fun combined with challenge helps prevent memory problems and can improve your brain function. The social interaction can ward off stress and depression.

Strategies: 1. Incorporate fun brainstorming sessions. 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

Discover talents and knowledge – By incorporating a playful piece into the learning (and teaching), you will also discover and uncover talents and knowledge that were previously untapped.

Strategies: 1. Create a scavenger hunt to teach dry topics like policy and procedures. 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

Stimulate creativity – You’ll learn new tasks and skills faster and deeper when you are more relaxed and playful. Your creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills are stimulated, making you sharper, clearer, and more productive.

Strategies: 1. Keep a sketchpad on hand and when you hit a glitch – doodle! 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

Improve relationships and connections – Play, as a state of mind, can help you break the ice with new staff and strangers, make new business connections and collaborations, build trust, and expand friendships – all perfect for minimizing leadership isolation!

Strategies: 1. Set up a table in the break room and start a jigsaw puzzle on it. 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

Keep you feeling young and energetic – Integrating your core play personality into your daily life will not only boost your energy and vitality but also your resistance to disease. Play triggers the release of endorphins – the body’s natural feel-good chemicals – which promote an overall sense of well-being and can temporarily relieve stress and pain.

Strategies: 1. Change things up – hold meetings in a park or do a few laps around the parking lot when having a one-to-one meeting. 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

I incorporate playful and fun problem-solving activities into all of my trainings so participants can begin to:

  • Learn about themselves and others in the room (connection),
  • Create new neural pathways (cognition),
  • Begin to look at the content from new perspectives (creativity),
  • Be open to trying on new ways of showing up (experimentation), and
  • Have fun, no matter how tough the content (flexibility).

Try incorporating some of the traits of play into your day-to-day and let me know what you notice!