Play is is wonderful for creativity and doing good work. When we achieve flow, our playful mind can create amazing pieces of business, literature, and music. 

However, we all get tired. Even work that was at first enjoyable can start to drag. At that point, I find that if I push too hard, the work starts to suffer. If I’m writing a paper, the words read as if they were forced. If I am writing music, the resulting piece gives me a headache.

For these reasons, as much as I can, when working, I try to avoid that feeling of exhaustion That would mean, however, that we would have to close a session, pretty much at any time, since it is not always clear when that feeling of exhaustion will appear. While it is useful to examine frustration and irritation as potential clues as to where to go next, and even to push through to achieve some next level, it is simply not possible to carry on forever. Humans seem to have limits.

It would seem to be a luxury to be able to close a session at any time. Many times it is. But we can foster conditions that promote this luxury. Specifically, we use the workflow trio of:
1. Start early
2. Start small
3. Start often

When we start something well ahead of a due date, we give ourselves the ability to put it aside for the day much more readily. Certainly, we can feel annoyed by some types of work before we even begin. This is not about stopping before starting. It is still useful to touch the keys every day. In other words, it is still useful to visit the work and be fully present with it, even if that is only for a moment.

But beyond that moment, so long as the due date is still far off, we can find that luxury of deciding – is this a good situation to work through frustration or should I put it aside and close the session for now?

The rhythm built can carry and even inspire us. With the pressure of a small stream, some of the most difficult and onerous work can begin to morph into an enjoyable challenge that inspires play.


If you’re interested in fully learning this process as part of the workflow engine, consider Being Productive. Sign up for the newsletter to get the first 5 videos for free.