Play matters. Do it first.

by Andy Polaine on April 3, 2007

As you know I think and write about play quite a bit and am a big advocate of most of what Pat Kane writes about in The Play Ethic. My interests are a combination of play in the context of interaction design as well as within culture and the institutions of work and education as I’ve gone on about at length before.

Teaching is very rewarding when it goes well, particularly as my students often find real gems. It was great that one of my students, Aaron posted this link, Should You Really Be Playing? in one of my online courses.

It’s from Trizle, a ‘business solutions’ company in Silicon Valley. I have to say I hate the use of language (all the frickin’ kick-ass woo hoo stuff), but the sentiment is spot on. Basically they argue that when you have a lot of work on (so, then, always) you should schedule the play first and the work second because it improves your productivity in the end:

Locking yourself up into your office will get you shabby results, where you keep yourself busy without producing much — according to Berkeley Psychologist Neil Fiore.

Scheduling play everyday instead stimulates your soul to work much more productively, while keeping your morale higher than a freakish eagle.

According to Fiore “the anticipation of extended isolation from friends and recreation is likely to promote procrastination.” You know the deal – you are meant to be doing work but you do everything else but and then cram it in at the last moment. So play first and use the same amount of time you would have worked at the end anyway. That way you still get the work done and you have a good time.

Obvious really, but as Pat Kane would argue, the Protestant work ethic of efficiency would have you think the other way around. A culture of play is, ironically, something you really have to work at.

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