Play Dates Pay Over and Over Again

October 1, 2014

If you are like other entrepreneurs, according to recent statistics, you are likely to be working a lot more hours. The question is, “Are those hours working you or are you working them?”

Many books have been written on various ways to cut the hours, to increase productivity, and to do more in less time. Not as much has been written on ways to rejuvenate yourself, and reenergize after long periods of burning the candle at both ends. No matter how much we love what we do, we must still take time to let our mind, body and soul rest.

Some clients have shared they feel guilty about taking time off when there’s so much to do. Others have said they can’t relax when there’s work to do so why bother. Yet others say that playmates seem like child’s play and aren’t responsible.

Play dates pay you back in many ways. First, they give all the parts of your mind a chance to catch up to each other. This means that some of your best ideas will come when you finally stop to take a break. Edison, Einstein and other great creative geniuses knew the secret behind focusing intensely on work and following it by a break.

Second, play dates allow you to check out and detach from your business in a good way. When you let go, all of those things that you’ve been holding onto so tightly have a way of finding answers. You may feel that by working on something harder you will get the answers, but consider whether or not that is really true.

Third, by taking a break, you can be a better you. That means a better boss, a better spouse, a better parent, a better technician, a better sales person, and a better marketer. This one pays dividends upon dividends – improved relationships, improved life, and improved sales.

Last, but not least, when you take a play date to take care of yourself, you give others permission to take care of themselves. The big façade is that successful people work themselves into the ground, but really successful people have figured out that when they push away from the table, they really increase how effective they are. There’s a reason why Richard Branson does business from a tropical oasis, and why Oprah steals away to Hawaii.

Three Steps To a Great Play Date

  1. Schedule Time During the Week. Plan your break during the week, and make it a special time for yourself. Do plan your time off. You can of course take a break when an appointment cancels, but when you plan it, you can breathe easy that people aren’t looking for you. A good play date is at least two hours long, but could be several days if you like.
  2. Make it personal. Do something you’ve been putting off because you haven’t had the time. Choose something that you will really enjoy – golf, visit a museum, take in a movie, hit the spa, or just spend some time alone. If you enjoy being with a favorite friend, invite your friend to come with you and see how much the two of you can do in an afternoon!
  3. Unplug – completely.  A play date isn’t relaxing if it is interrupted by a Crackberry or a cell phone. Turn off the phone, put an auto responder on your email, and unplug so you can be fully present for your play date. Enjoy this time you’ve given yourself knowing that everything is a-okay.
  4. Take notice. When you return to the office, take notice of what happened that was unexpected. What pleasant surprises popped up? Did a sale go through? Did a problem correct itself? Consider making a note of these – mental or written – so you can remind yourself how valuable these breaks can be.
  5. Be great-full. When you return, share your rested, vibrancy with everyone. When people comment on how great you look (and they will), share your secret, and encourage them to do the same. When you are grateful, your greatness is fully available to others to see. When you give to yourself, you give to others as well.

Play dates don’t just happen. They require your attention. If you’ve been secretly feeling like you would like to steal away, pull out the calendar and schedule your play date. It’s time!

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