Play Hard first, work harder later.


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Recently, I keep having flashbacks of the good old student days of mine, now that my students are having exams. The other day, a student of mine was caught in a dilemma. Her exams are coming up in just 20 + days, and yet there is F1 happening and one of the performing artist is her idol. Being a fan, she popped me the question, “Cher, how sia? I want to go but yet my exams are around the corner. Should I go for it or should I make the best out of my time studying and not going?”

With a big smile on my face, I responded, “Just go man. Go take a break, and enjoy the time with your friends. Its an event to look forward to. Take it as a break to propel yourself more, PLAY HARD THEN WORK HARD.”

Reason being: its a paradox. Staying at home to study and not attending the event, one may feel tired and not motivated. Let’s just be honest. How many times have our head ruled over our hearts? Everybody says that you should work before play. However, how often is this effective? Looking back at my younger days, I am a PLAY HARD, then WORK HARDER kind of student, and now a PLAY HARD, then WORK HARDER kind of worker. I will always waste a lot of my time playing games, procrastinate, laze around, hang out with mates and ultimately end up being behind schedule. Eventually, after playing to my hearts’ content, I will feel guilty about not doing any work, resulting in high efficiency, productive level which in turn helps me get my work done within the deadline.

Many have talked about striking a balance between work and play. This results in a way that it seems like a 50-50 split. Let’s take a step back and think. When we work hard then we play, we will have a guilt free experience when we are playing. What if its the other way round? We play so hard, and procrastinate so badly that the guilt and time constraints kick in forcing us to get work done. At this point, you will need to spend double the effort in order to catch up. The concept is to let yourself enjoy your leisure time and use the ‘guilt’ that comes after to become a motivation instead of an inhibition. Isn’t it brilliant?

Going one level deeper, we usually just enjoy playing and being in the moment. That moment is filled with laughter, fulfilment, ‘high’ which puts us in a totally ‘stress-free’ zone. Just that half a day activity can help us free our minds temporarily, and let it have a short rest from the routine work / rushing of work schedule / preparation of exams which tend to be draining and frustrating. Having a refreshed mind allows us to have higher productivity level. This works just like our metabolism rate. With short rests in between the reps, the intensity can be heightened. The same ideology can be applied to work productivity levels too.

So let us all take a good play and play it really well, play so hard that we don’t think about work. Let us play so badly and guilt ourselves so much that we just end up working harder and be much more productive since completing work within the time constraint will be the only focus on our minds.

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Disclaimer : Everyone’s work productive cycle is different. There are people that work best under a routine schedule, with consistent effort. There are others like me that prefer working at high volume and then have a really good rest after before the next cycle starts. The key here is to explore the different methods and find what suits you the best.


CHER V. Vivian

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