As a kid, I loved this time of year. Fresh notebooks, shiny new supplies, and connecting with friends. There’s still just something about “back to school” that’s energizing.

You don’t have to have a child in school or be attending classes yourself to feel the excitement. But don’t forget that equally important part of school – RECESS!

Kids always remember recess but in the school of adult life, we sometimes forget that play is critical to our well-being.  Did you know that play strengthens those parts of our brain that help us problem solve, communicate, and create?

If you’ve studied how to work “smarter’, you know that creativity and collaboration are critical to your own success, as well as any team you work within. So ramp up your play skills and practice fun! Your success and well-being depend on it.  Here are five tips (from Larry Kim, Founder and CTO, WordStream) on how to practice fun more often so you can live more creatively:

1. Doodle Something

You may have been called out in school to “stop doodling and pay attention.” Now we know it can actually help you!  Suni Brown, author of The Doodle Revolution, notes that some of the greatest thinkers–from Henry Ford to Steve Jobs –used doodling to jump-start creativity. Doodling can enhance recall and activate neurological pathways, leading to new insights and cognitive breakthroughs. Some companies even encourage doodling during meetings!

2. Take a Class in Something You’ve Never Done Before

Creativity flourishes when you push yourself outside your comfort zone. Seek out adult education classes! They’re usually very casual, with plenty of beginner options. Try painting, pottery, or woodworking. How about learning a new language, playing an instrument, or taking a cooking class?

3. Create the Right Environment

Everyone (yes, even you) can be creative. You simply need a supportive environment, some focus, and a guide. Kids are full of creative energy in part because they haven’t yet learned to fear criticism or failure.

That’s why Google provides employees with fun perks like beach volleyball courts that are set up like an adult playground. Their goal is to create a relaxed environment where employees feel comfortable to share even their wackiest ideas. Businesses that value creativity pay attention to creative, judgment-free environments where ideas can thrive.

4. Start a Sketchbook

Sketching is a great way to preserve memories and make good use of time. Buy a small, lightweight sketchbook that fits in your bag. Start sketching whenever you have a few spare minutes.  Draw the salt and pepper shaker on the table while the coffee is brewing, or that crumpled newspaper on the chair.

You may be disappointed in your sketches at first, but the more you draw, the better you’ll get. Don’t critique your results–just draw for the fun of it! Creativity seeps across activities; so sketching just a few minutes a day can boost your creativity, not to mention your energy.

5. Keep Toys on Your Desk

Creative design companies often encourage employees to keep toys on their desks –from Legos and Lincoln Logs to Play-Doh and origami paper. Build something with your hands, rather than typing on a keyboard.  It can be just the creative jolt you need!

Do you want more ideas?  Would you like to expand the fun quotient on your team?  We can help!  Click here to learn about a new workshop. 

Now go have some fun!


Raving Fan

“For our annual team retreat, we wanted something different.  Our team members come from all over the country, so we wanted activities to build relationships while improving our communications and leadership practices.  We also wanted to have fun.  Linda Cobb delivered all that and more with an engaging afternoon session of structured games, and she showed us how those activities related to what we do every day. Not only did we exercise our creativity, learn about each other, and build trust, we had a blast!”

Thomas Downey
Bids & Proposals/Strategic Systems
Global Mission Excellence – Northrup Grumman