Business Lifestyle

Work as a Game: Feel Joy and Avoid Burnout

March 15, 2021

Last 12 months has been difficult for humanity. We have been hit hard from where we did not expect. Essential workers had to face risks every day while most of us moved our workspaces to our homes and lines got blurred between work and our personal lives.

As a result, unpleasant situations like burnout and imposter syndrome have risen up among workers. Actual numbers are: according to “Anatomy of Work” research by Asana, 71% of survey respondents experienced burnout at least once in the past year. At a team or organisational level, we can use the power of simplified workflows and bring clarity in order to avoid burnout. What can we do at personal level?

Serious work has leaked into our area of joy. So maybe it is not us but the “serious work” is the one to be blamed. In serious work, fear of failure destroys joy and motivation. This is why it is not sustainable, especially now.

What if it doesn’t have to be this way? What if work is a game that we strategize our path to success, and we are the players?

When we are playing, we have the feeling of joy, we are focused and isolated, we lose track of time. And it is so motivating that we want to do it again. It helps us to be more creative. So let’s imagine ourselves playing, instead of working for a moment.

Breaking down that beast work into smaller tasks and going through checkpoints. Hitting your enemy blockers with your creative solutions to reach the end of the part. That should be quite applicable to every knowledge worker out there.

Problem solving is an essential part of my work and also the part I enjoy the most. That is when I go into a playful flow state. I realised that the reason I feel that way is, I often see it as a game where I need to come up with creative ways to solve a problem. When I do, I win the game, and I want to do it again.

So how can we apply this on a larger scale? I think it is possible via managing our energy and focus the right way. Use it to find your natural rhythm of handling work and feel the joy of play. When things get tough, take that as a challenge, read the gameplay well, know your (and your tools’) strengths and weaknesses, analyse the environment, draw your path to success and hit play. Enjoy it. And do it again.

Reference and thanks: The book “15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership” helped me to put my thoughts in a structured form around this topic. I would recommend reading commitment 9, if you are interested.

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