Productivity Paranoia

I was wondering if you identify with the idea of productivity paranoia? I've been doing a lot of research in the field of play and I have a few productivity hacks I wanted to share with you to spread the word about the importance of play at work, so you can play too.

1. Replace Yes, but with Yes, enter a new world of possibility, action and adventure. Saying yes is an act of courage and optimism, allowing you to share control. Saying yes also prevents you from blocking which is an idea that comes from improvisation.

Blocking is a way of trying to control the situation instead of accepting it. Blocking comes in many forms from saying no, to thinking we have a better idea, changing the subject, failing to listen, correcting the speaker or flat out ignoring the situation. Try to say yes to everything for just one day.

2. When you screw up, say "Tah-Dah" and take a bow. Creating humility in the face of failure makes it a whole lot easier to deal with.

3. Imagine a box sitting in front of you. Take a moment to really see the box. What colour is the wrapping? Does it have a bow or ribbon? How big is the box? Now pick it up and feel the weight and shake it carefully. Now carefully unwrap it and open the box. What's the first thing you see? Take out your gift and examine it.

Notice the details. What did you find? Did you surprise yourself? Was this easy or did you freeze or think it's silly? Maybe you thought of the object before even opening the box? Maybe you didn't like what was inside and you immediately rejected it and tried to think of something else? These are normal control strategies.

We take responsibility for the content of our environment and "think up" something in the box. Isn't that what you were supposed to do? Think of something in the box? No, Relax. You don't need to try so hard. Trust the gift is already there and then discover it. There is always something in the box - reality puts it there.

Give Yourself Permission this Year

Are you feeling bogged down by workplace norms and daily routines? It seems like sometimes we're just going through the motions of eat, sleep, work, repeat. Perhaps you entered 2017 ripping and roaring with enthusiasm, but now you're just back to the grind.

I am going to let you in on a littler secret I recently discovered: PERMISSION.

The people who actually learn, innovate and create change everyday get, take and most importantly - give permission to do so. The positive energy, creativity and insights that are usually lost in those workplace norms and routines can be regained with these three simple practices and the good news is that these can be practiced by anyone at any level. - Pamela Meyer, Permission

In order for us to feel inspired, connected or creative, we have got to give ourselves permission to do so. 

Give Permission

The permission-giver is one of the most important roles anyone can play to encourage creativity, significant learning and engagement at work. Instead of just saying you’re going to do something, you actually behave in line with your values. Do you know what your values are? If you want to see change, you must BE the change. Most of us are well trained to follow the rules, so it’s important to give permission to, not only yourself, but to others to stretch their thinking and challenge assumptions.

Take Permission

People who make shit happen don’t just sit around and wait for permission; they take it. They dive right in and happily lead the way, risking their reputation, to clear the path for those of us who are too timid to speak up or be the first to try something new. Thanks to permission-takers, we now know its okay to challenge, questions and stand up for what we believe in.

Get Permission

The most successful permission-getters don’t leave inspiration to chance: they are intentional and explicit in their search. Some of the most effective change-makers actively seek out provocative examples to give them permission to push beyond their own ideas and preconceptions.

Some of the best ways to introduce permission into our lives is by creating a safe space, being ourselves, getting over ourselves and not take things too seriously.

By giving yourself and others permission to bring their whole selves, great ideas and fresh perspectives to each conversation and collaboration at work, things inevitably become more engaging and even more fun.

Now go forth and play the game of permission! You now have permission to:

·     Listen to your body

·     Change your point of view

·     Be silly

·     Incubate

·     Iterate

·     Move

·     Be Human

·     Ask Questions

·     Ask for what you need

·     Be enthusiastic

·     Be quiet

·     Bring Your Whole Self

·     Connect

·     Include

·     Play

·     Practice

·     Celebrate

·     Immerse Yourself

·     Make a Mess

·     Fail

·     Take a risk

·     Walk Away

·     Improvise

·     Say I don’t know

·     Rest

·     Wonder

·     Start Now!

Are You in Your Right Mind?

Right-brainers are said to rule the future, according to author Daniel H. Pink. His book, A Whole New Mind, explains that it's time to ditch the dominance of left-brain thinking and start tapping in to the beauty and connectedness of the right-brain.

Our society has been built on left-brain thinking. The left side of the brain controls ration, logic and function and has been the favoured side of the brain as far back as the age of Hippocrates, while the right-side controls creativity and design.

Fast-forward to the 19th century and Western economies boomed during the Industrial Age with the advent of machines and mass production (left-brain thinking). In the 20th century, aka the Information Age, mass production faded while knowledge and information fuelled the developed world (more left-brain thinking).

The dawn of the 20th century and the Information Age is behind us, and it's time for the logical, analytical knowledge-workers to start being a lot more human and a lot less machine. Why? Machines put blue-collar workers out on the street and the white-collared are not far behind.

Now, in the 21st century, we have entered the Conceptual Age where white-collar, left brain businesses and professionals need to develop skills that computers can’t do better, faster and cheaper because efficiency alone just won’t cut it. Lawyers, Accountants, Software Engineers. If your job is based on efficiency, you're outta here.

Millions of people will lose their jobs to automation and overseas employment in the next five years, and it’s now, more than ever, that we need to humanise our workplaces with empathy, meaning and play.

To survive in this age, individuals and organisations need to ask these questions when it comes to making a living:

  1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
  2. Can a computer do it faster?
  3. Is what I’m offering in demand in an age of abundance?

Pink explains that High-Tech needs to be supported by High-Concept and High-Touch. Because we live in the age of abundance, we are over satisfied with material goods and are in search for meaning and transcendence. Beauty, emotion and connectedness are higher on our priority lists along with empathy and play. What we do needs to satisfy the aesthetic, emotional and spiritual demands of this prosperous time.

Pink describes the six senses that will help us all achieve great success in the Conceptual Age ahead - all which can not be shipped overseas or be out performed by a computer.

  1. Design - Brings more pleasure meaning and beauty to our lives.
  2. Story- Personal narratives help us to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our purpose.
  3. Symphony- The ability to be unconventional, put the pieces together and see the perfection in imperfection.
  4. Empathy- Our ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, to understand what the other person is feeling.
  5. Play- Tapping in to what is lost from our childhood - our sense of imagination, creativity and humour.
  6. Meaning - Connecting to something that is bigger than ourselves and embracing our spirituality.

We are searching for more, but not of what is effective, logical or useful - but of what enriches our lives with joy and meaning.

The Future of our Workplace is Playspace

How the serious business of play sparks creativity, promotes deep learning and encourages innovative thinking

Think back to when you were a kid. You were playful, imaginative, adventurous; you took risks - everything you need to be a successful entrepreneur. But fast-forward a few decades and there are obligations, responsibilities, lots of stress and little time or energy for the simplicity of play.

In an ever-changing world of relentless innovation, businesses must possess greater agility in order to thrive. With 9 out of 10 start-ups destined to fail (Forbes), play is to innovation as the assembly line revolutionized manufacturing.

We live in the knowledge age, yet we continue to do business as if were living in the 18th century. We work long hours and 84% of Australians are disengaged (Gallup 2012). Millions of people will lose their jobs to automation by 2021, and it’s now, more than ever, that we need to humanise our workplaces.

Robots are not innovative. They lack the ability to create, empathise and connect. However, research shows we are anxious, depressed and disengaged. What do we do?

“Some organisations go out of their way to let people experiment and play. A host of hard-driving Silicon Valley companies, such as Google and Apple, as well as Facebook, IDEO and Toms provide environments that encourage some kind of play, referred to variously as Zen dens, play spaces, and chat chambers. As the leaders of these companies realise, a legitimate and comfortable environment for brains to play can be a powerful tool for allowing people to develop their creative capacities and cognitive health.” - Harvard Business Review

Let’s look on the bright side. You don't have to be Google or Facebook to create a dynamic culture. All you need is an open-mind and curiosity to learn more about the importance of play.

Project Play has designed an immersive weekend to give business owners and creative professionals the opportunity to experience the idea of play at work.

By utilising research in the field of play from neurophysiology and psychology, to animal play behaviour and evolutionary biology, Project Play has crafted strategic play programs for entrepreneurs and their businesses. 

Its immersion program is an environment for brains to play, which is a powerful tool for professionals to develop their creative capacities.

When business owners give permission to play, they actually increase their productivity, engagement and morale. The permission-giver is one of the most important roles anyone can play to encourage innovative thinking and significant learning. 

As we grow older, play gets a bad rep - seen as immature, frivolous and ridiculous. Play creates ridiculous ideas and big innovation lives right on the edge of ridiculous. 

“Most people think that the opposite of play is work (especially in the corporate world) but the opposite is boredom or even depression.” - Brendan Boyle, IDEO

Increase Brain Function, Creativity, Focus and Relationships with One Four-Letter Word

There was never any reason for play when we were kids, it just happened. Play teaches children how to build relationships, relate to others and express themselves. But what happens as we get older?

Play and connection is as important to our health as food, water and shelter. Dr Stuart Brown who runs the National Institute of Play compares play to oxygen and says, “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.” This might seem surprising until you consider everything that constitutes play. Play is art, books, movies, music, comedy, flirting and daydreaming.

Play deficit can actually lead to minor or chronic depression. So, why is it that when we grow up, most of us lose our innate desire to play? Play is often perceived as petty or unproductive and with all the responsibilities and busyness, there just doesn't seem to be any time for play. Right? But wait a second, there is now undeniable scientific research that supports the benefits of play for our mental health and wellbeing!

Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a social animal … anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.” What does he mean? We are social creatures and we need connection in order to survive. Back in the day, when we were cave people, we had to be part of a tribe or else we’d die – whether by starvation, intense weather or predators.

Why do we need play?

  • It helps to relieve stress and releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel good hormones
  • It keeps you feeling young and energetic
  • It supports relationships and connection
  • It improves brain function
  • It stimulates our mind and boosts our creativity

Just remember, the mind is like a parachute, it works best when it’s open and when we play, our mind is open to infinite possibilities.

How to incorporate more play into your life:

  • Change your perception of play
  • Say yes to things you wouldn’t often say yes to
  • Recall past memories of playing
  • Surround yourself with playful people
  • Play with kids
  • Go on holiday
  • Play board games
  • Watch films
  • Read books

We don’t have to play every second of every day. A little bit of play goes a long way.