Thursday, June 30, 2011

Self-Help: Work Hard, Play Harder

By Shyam Cholayil

Article Source:

Nothing is truer than the above quote from Edison. However, just working hard all the time may not give you the sense of achievement you are looking for. You need to play hard too. In fact, you need to play harder.

All the successful people I have interacted with, not only work hard, but also play harder, finding time to pursue their passions, hobbies and interests. This is a form of self-motivation and a very effective one too. Make sure that you allocate time for play when you plan your activities. It does not necessarily mean that you start playing when you are at work, but by setting aside an hour for doing something you really like, gets you to achieve your goal faster. I know a group of friends from the San Francisco Bay Area, all senior IT professionals, who work really hard during the week. However, come Saturday, they meet at a local gym for yoga lessons and then they wind down at the Starbucks nearby over a good coffee. This really keeps them motivated.

Some organizations really care about creating an atmosphere of work and play. While I was working with Microsoft in Singapore, we had a corporate gym membership. Working out at the gym during the day was encouraged. I actually found that I was more productive during the second half of the day, if I went out for a one hour workout around noon. The mornings also ended up being more productive. Since I knew I had to go to the gym, I made sure that my meetings ended on time and was more efficient with my work. In fact, more organizations are encouraging an environment of 'work hard, play harder' as part of their corporate culture.

Some tips from my experience, to help you work hard and play harder:

1.Always, stretch your goals. This way, you will need to work really hard to achieve them, but you will end up playing harder too. This has been my personal experience.

2.If you are a team leader or a manager, make sure your entire team works harder and plays harder too. Lead by example. Ensure that you finish off your work on time and then take time to pursue your interests/hobbies. This way, your team will also be encouraged to do the same. Also, make sure that there is a team reward for achieving something. This could be a trip to the cinemas or an evening at the local bowl. If budget permits, include the spouses or partners of the team members. This is a very effective since you will now have spouses of your team members encouraging them to work hard.

3.It is highly recommended that you include 'play' in your lifestyle on a daily basis. After a hard day's work, make sure you spend some time doing something you like. If this does not sound practical, at least make sure you spend time during the weekend for your favorite activity. This really refreshes you to resume work on Monday.