I’ve never been the kind of guy that just works all the time. Life should be fun, but the fun is a whole lot more rewarding if you do the work first. You’ll get a lot further in life that way too.
Work first, then play. It’s something I tell myself all the time, but I’ve never really started saying it out loud until my daughter turned 3 last month.
All of a sudden, she is blossoming from a baby girl into a full-fledged toddler, and moving at what seems like light speed towards being a little girl.
As she continues to grow up and learn about the world, I continue to tell her, “work first, then play,” because I want her to understand that playtime is a reward for the work that you put in.
In my most successful years, this principle is what has gotten me through whatever it was I was trying to accomplish. It got me through some tough classes in college, graduate school, running two businesses, and growing a project management career, and now it’s getting me through raising a daughter.
As any young kid, I used to play a lot of video games, active sports and did a lot of goofing off back in my teens and twenties. Sometimes I played first, and then saved the work for later. That never worked out very well, but when I did the work first and used the games (or whatever it was that was fun) for my reward after the hard work was done, that was usually pretty successful.
Sometimes I didn’t have time for the play part, which is OK, because sometimes you have to work until you fall asleep to get ahead, but I always tried to make sure I got a little bit of playtime in. I always felt like this was important for mental health and just being an overall rounded person.
My daughter might not know exactly what this phrase means yet, but she will. I’ll continue to use it to progress my own life, and I hope she picks it up as a way to get what she wants out of life and still have a lot of fun along the way.
So play the video games, but do the work first. Shoot some hoops with your friends, but do the work first. Play a round of golf, but do the work first. Have a night out on the town, but do the work first.
Life should be fun, but remember to do the work first, then play.