Play More!

Last summer, Laura introduced me to Jillian Michaels’ podcast. And I’m obsessed. It’s like free therapy in my earbuds.

I know I’m not the only one who listens to podcasts while running, so I wrote an article on the best podcasts for running at work recently. One of the new-to-me ones was Ben Greenfield. He’s a former Ironman triathlete and bodybuilder and overall smart, smart dude. His podcasts span in topic from “are weeds healthy to eat?” to “how to maximize the nutrient density of a low carb diet.” They’re different than the mainstream health news you hear, so they’re really interesting.

The other day, as I set out for a run, one podcast caught my eye (I don’t really listen to things in order): A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety – How to Play More and Work Less. I’m typically at the office from about 10 – 7ish, but I usually am doing several hours of work either before work, after work, or sometimes both. It’s usually a mix of blog work, work work and Junior League work.

I love everything I do, but it can still be exhausting. (And the huge Junior League time commitment is coming to an end soon, thankfully.)

The show’s guest, Charlie Hoehn, was working his ass off, working for Tim Ferriss. He was given a ton of responsibility, and after completing a huge project, Tim was going to double his salary; Charlie quit instead.

Some of Charlie’s tips seemed a little more geared to entrepreneurs, such as “hold meetings while playing catch or stand-up paddleboarding.” Not sure that would fly, even at my fairly relaxed job. 

But the gist of his “play more” message resonated with me.

I know I’m guilty of the “more is more” mindset. 95% of the time, I eat lunch at my desk so I can keep working – even though we have a big table where a lot of our team eats together. 

NewImage11 Play More!

Obligatory Bailey photo.

With the nicer weather, I’ve eaten lunch outside a few times in the past few weeks with coworkers. We’re never gone more than 30-45 minutes or so, but it’s so refreshing to get a little sunshine and switch work mode off for just a bit. I run home and walk Bailey every afternoon, but as much as I love the furball, it’s more of an obligation and not as relaxing as it should be. Which is dumb, because I’m walking a cute little fluffermuffin, and animals can provide us tons of stress relief.

Last summer, I took Bex and Danny J’s Social Academy course, hoping I’d learn some more social media tips and tricks I could use on this blog and in the consulting/freelance work I was doing at the time. I was also at a crossroads of deciding if I wanted to continue freelancing and really make something of it or look for a full-time job. I was full-steam ahead doing both at the time, and stressed out. I ultimately decided that the coaching/consulting thing wasn’t for me. Their course was GREAT, don’t get me wrong, but it sounded like Marie Forleo’s B-School on a smaller scale. The course basically was teaching us to make our blogs/websites our platforms from which to sell products/services.

I’ve always worked hard at my blog, but honestly never really had any kind of plan other than believing if you work hard, good things will come to you. (I know that’s only partially true; you do have to ask for what you want, too, but I digress.) I have never focused on “growing my blog.” Any time I tried to think like that, it felt completely inauthentic. I know tips and strategies to get more readers, or create the kind of content people will want to share. But…I don’t want to do that. Everything happened completely organically and through just reading a ton, and applying what I read and also some of what I saw other, more successful bloggers doing.

But while I was giving blog advice to newer/smaller bloggers last summer, the last thing I wanted to do was take any of that advice. I started this blog for fun, and it was losing that, thinking about how I could best monetize it. I let go of all of that and started blogging completely just for fun, and my traffic has nearly doubled since – and I’ve gotten some pretty cool opportunities. I also stopped focusing on my running times and running without a watch. It. is. liberating.

This is a long-winded way of saying PLAY MORE! We’re all busy, but there’s also room in all of our lives for a little more spontaneity and unplugging and recharging and thinking about the world differently.

How do you “play?” Do you play enough?

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9 comments on “Play More!

  1. Jen

    I love this SO MUCH. I feel like the more you work, the more you should make your other activities focus on fun. Not training for a race and just running and working out for fun has made things seem way lower pressure and made them more enjoyable to me.

    Reply
  2. Kiersten Pfeifer

    I’ve recently had more opportunities for product reviews through my blog. At first I was so excited that I took them all, but then I started to realize that I hated the way it made my blog feel like a big ad. It’s something I do for fun and so I want to be able to write about what I want to write about and only on my schedule.

    As far as work, I’ve found that getting out for lunch make a huge difference in my afternoon productivity. I’m recharged and ready to go.

    Reply
  3. Traci

    For sure…play is important. For children, their work IS play. After reaching adulthood, we think of work and play as two separate things, but making time for play makes work more fulfilling, and if your work is at ALL creative, play is a huge source of inspiration. I always get a lot of unexpected ideas from taking time to play, have adventures, and just enjoy myself.

    Reply
  4. Hillary

    I love this post. Thank you!

    Would you consider writing a blog post about being a member of the Junior League? I’m very interested and it’d be great to see someone’s experience from a new member to experienced.

    Thanks!!!

    Reply
  5. Chelsea @ Chelsea Eats Treats

    I am a HUGE fan of podcasts and am always looking for new ones. My favorite two are not fitness related at all but are so, so good: NPR TED Radio Hour and This American Life. I also am liking High Impact Blogging with Laura Williams, which interviews health & fitness bloggers. Someone else told me to download Ben Greenfield a while back and I was procrastinating, but now I’ve subscribed. Can’t wait to listen! Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Alicia

    Great post! I only recently discovered your blog (not really sure how) and I’m really enjoying it. Another health related podcast that I enjoy is Elevate Your Energy with Evelyne Lambrecht. She interviews authors and naturopathic doctors about all kinds of different issues. Also: Underground Wellnes with Sean Croxton, and Dr. Lo Radio with Dr. Lauren Noel.

    Reply
  7. Katie @ Live Half Full

    Oh you are SO right! I am currently laid off and looking- which has happened to me twice before- and I remind myself to ENJOY every day. This is just a season of my life and I know when I start working again I’ll wish I would’ve appreciated it more. I hope this lesson resinates for me for a long time!

    Reply
    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      I’m sorry to hear about your layoff, but I hope you find something even better afterwards! I was laid off several times as well, but I honestly and truly believe now it was just part of the path to get me to where I am now LOVING my job. But yes – from the last time I was not working full-time, I tried my best to enjoy that time as well as I could. All of the advice you read says to keep some sort of structure to your day – which definitely helped me – but I think willing to mix up that structure in ways you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to (i.e. lunchtime workout! or shopping) is nice.

      Reply
  8. Andreas

    Hey Theodora,

    you are so right!! I love your posts :)

    Going out every day and run is for me the best way to get my all-day motivation :) Please keep up your good work!

    Cheers Andreas

    Reply

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