All Work and No Play? 4 Reasons To Change Your Ways

Are you all work & no play? You know what they say about…

That’s right…it makes for a dull person. Not only that, research shows that being “dull” may be the least of problems. You are also missing out on some great health benefits.

Our minds and bodies suffer from stress due to the pace and demands of daily life. In my coaching practice, this is a common issue that arises when working with executives. I have them do an exercise where I ask them a simple question, “What do you do FOR yourself to recharge?”

I’m no longer surprised when the response I get is…”I don’t know. Nothing really.” (said as they get this blank stare, shake their head and slump in their chair.)



And I think – What a waste. This is such a smart, talented person. Do they realize what they’re missing?

I understand how it happens. People have demanding jobs, often have family responsibilities and they feel guilty for taking time for themselves. Their “leisure time” is now focused on their kid’s sporting events, family & household obligations, doing work in the evenings & weekends in an effort to catch up, or simply crashing after dinner because they have nothing left in the tank.

Studies show that if we don’t take time to care for ourselves, we won’t be able to live a productive, fulfilling life, much less be around to take care of others we love.

Here are a few specific reasons to find interests outside of work and begin enjoying the benefits:

  1. Various types of exercise, like playing tennis, basketball, hike, bike, etc…offer clear health benefits in reducing stress, toning muscle and improving overall physical fitness.  Here’s a bonus –  it also helps keep your mind more alert & sharp! Thinking on your feet, coming up with winning strategies and managing the whole eye-hand coordination thing takes brain power!
  2. Enjoying a hobby offers a time to relax and divert your attention away from work and chores. Instead of focusing on problems, issues and your to-do list, you can escape the daily grind by focusing on something else. This precious time away from “work” allows you to re-charge and re-engage in work with new-found energy.
  3. Your outside interests often enable you to gain new skills and tap into hidden talents. For example, Sudoku, card games or chess can sharpen your analytical skills. Your creativity skills can be nurtured through gardening, reading, singing, drawing, painting or even just playing Pictionary.
  4. Getting involved in activities outside work offers opportunities to meet new people, who are often like-minded. If you share an interest in a hobby, chances are you will have other common interests. In meeting new people, you also are more likely to enjoy new experiences, which will give you more interesting things to talk about…the opposite of “dull”.

I’ve seen it happen time and time again in working with my clients, (and from personal experience), finding ways to do something FOR yourself, is a great way to boost confidence,  ignite passion, promote pleasure in daily living and gain a sense of accomplishment.

My challenge to you is to find time EVERYDAY to do something for yourself! I know, I know…”I don’t have time to do that everyday!” My response – you make time for what’s important.  This IS important. Plus, everyone around you will benefit from the benefits you’ll receive.

Come on – you’re worth it!

Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults.  Follow her on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect via email at