The power of a play project

I've been busy recently co-running the Screw Work Let's Play Programme, helping ten people find out what work would really feel like play to them.

The core of the programme is getting the participants to launch a play project - a 4 week project that will be fun to do and explores an area of work or creativity they feel drawn to. The participants then have a non-negotiable deadline to share the results of their project with the leaders (me, Marianne Cantwell and Selina Barker) and the nine other participants.

You can create your own Play Project as long as you build support into it. This means:

  1. You set a non negotiable deadline with another person (or persons) to share the results of your Play Project
  2. You have someone (or some people) to turn to when you hit a setback - either an obstacle to your project or an internal doubt or resistance

Even I have been surprised just how powerful a play project can be when these factors are present. Successful Play Projects by participants of the SWLP Programme have included defining a new business idea, creating an ebook, and recording a pop song.

The process feels completely counter-intuitive at first because it requires that you stop fretting about your ideal work or how you could ever get paid - and start doing something. If you are stuck on that very first question "What would I enjoy?" you will benefit hugely from this. At a later stage, you can create further play projects to move you towards getting paid.

Here's why Play Projects work so well:

  • You get into action at last so you don't feel powerless over your life any more
  • You find out what you enjoy, what you don't, what you're good at, what you're not so good at - all extremely useful information for your future work direction
  • It's fun - you get your creative juices going again - and this is a much better state in which to make career decisions and make them happen. As one participant on our programme said "This has affected every area of my life - people are commenting that I haven't looked this good in ages!"
  • Once you're out in the world on the move, you meet a lot more interesting people and opportunities - sometimes you even land some paid work without really trying to!

Read more about Play Projects in the book Screw Work Let's Play.

Read more about the Screw Work Let's Play Programme starting Jan 24th.

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