What is the problem if your kids are not studying during the lockdown period?
What horrifying consequences are you imagining if they invest their time playing for 3 months and having fun?
Are you under pressure to prove that you are more productive WFH?
Are you working extra hours everyday just to save your job?
What’s your problem if I sit and do nothing?
Let me explain with an example.
How about this, I am available all day for my wife and family while I work from home. We get to be together. That’s a big advantage and the way I bring play into my schedule.
This man’s wife and kids would probably agree that he isn’t doing much playing or spending time with them. They probably are feeling neglected. Yes, they get too be with his body, are they with his mind, his heart? Is his mind and heart really spending time with his family or is he coming up with the agenda for Monday’s meeting?
The man isn’t spending quality time with his family, he is simply working in a different environment.
Our cell phones have turned a great deal of fun time into work time. We have work conversations while eating in restaurants. We don’t just drive, we drive and talk. People don’t just shop anymore, they march up and down the mall with a phone glued to their ear. I’ve seen some taking calls during movies. I heard from a friend of mine that one woman was making calls on her cell phone while she was in labor.
Some of us even manage to turn hobbies and fun activities into work. People have become so obsessed with turning everything to look like work. You find folks sharing their hobby videos online with their network which gets them likes and more likes. They start getting addicted more to the likes and comments they receive than to the fun of doing something they love to do. As others under peer pressure start to post some videos of their own, it quickly turns into a contest. They start to look for who is getting more likes than the other. Now the fun has quickly transformed itself into work, with people even having goals set for the next day. What will I cook morrow, what new challenge will I pose to my friends in the network and so on.
During the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown you are seeing people posting several challenges, titling them as ‘quarantine challenge’ and everyone seems to be obsessed with it. What started of as just fun has now turned into a typical work like situation, where you are required to be at your best, delivering results and getting the best marketing strategies for displaying your life and hobbies to the world.
We forget to play when we take life too seriously. We must remember a time when we played purely, before we learned to play productively. A time when our hearts were open and we could play without a sense of guilt afterward. But the idea of living to have fun is looked upon with suspicion. We were told, “Life is serious, wipe that smile off your face. Do something, become something!” We look down upon someone who is just a floater and wonder why he doesn’t make something of his life.
We think that a floater is inferior when he says he lives in a world where the fun never stops. The real question is why do so many of us live in a world where the fun never starts? Have you thought about it?
As we climb up the ladder of success we forget to treat ourselves for fun. We see life as difficult, we want to constantly improve and fix things. We don’t know how to take time off for just fun. We have lost our familiarity with fun and then when we have some we feel guilty. We discount fun as a waste of time.
We feel that we don’t deserve to have fun or be happy, so we sabotage our lives. Let yourselves be ‘bad’ and have some fun.
Many of us have been raised in families in which we were regularly asked “what did you do today?” and in response we had a list of all our accomplishments to prove we were productive and did not waste our time. Imagine you telling your parents that you did nothing! They would have immediately snapped back and said “don’t waste your time, life is so precious, you must do something significant, blah.. blah…”
Even now as adults we feel comfortable listing the tasks we have accomplished than saying we did something purely cause it was fun and pleasurable.
Anything can be fun and play, but beware: any form of play can also quickly be turned into productivity. If you take walks because you truly enjoy them, they are play. If you are walking daily because its part of the exercise routine you feel you must do, you are not playing.
If you always get a nagging feeling that you are wasting your time then you are not playing enough or have forgotten to have fun.
Don’t fool yourselves into believing therefore that WFH is giving you great time with family. It’s time to be brutally honest with yourselves.