The Norman Transcript

Columns

March 24, 2014

Don’t fear adding to life’s juggling

NORMAN — Follow your bliss. Just do it. Do what you love, and the money will follow. Lean in.

These are life-guidance mottos that have taken a turn on the stage of the American consciousness. But there’s one I’d like to add that is particularly necessary now: Don’t forget to play.

There’s evidence that this activity that many of us associate with childhood can energize lives that are mired in Leaning In, doing more with less, multitasking and Having It All, according to a meticulously researched new book by Washington Post columnist Brigid Schulte, “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time.”

And Wharton School business professor Stew Friedman, writing for the “Harvard Business Review” earlier this month, claims that people can be more productive by spending less time on and less attention to work. He coaches high-powered clients to add a non-work activity in an area of life they’ve been neglecting, and witness better results in all parts of life. It’s a paradox that even in the busiest of lives adding an activity can ease one’s load by generating emotional satisfaction. Taking time to play is a leap of faith when Americans compete over who’s busiest as a sign of status. It’s like the man in the Cadillac commercial who brags that he only takes two weeks off in August.

Playing might seem an odd idea for an adult. But this isn’t pulling out the Monopoly board for a family game. It’s about creating a quality of life that many of us thought was gone because of work and family commitments. Instead, it’s doing a little more of what makes your “heart sing,” to borrow a phrase from Schulte.

Barbara Brannen, a successful Denver executive with two kids profiled in “Overwhelmed,” found herself so stressed-out from working all the time that her health suffered dramatically: She lost the use of her left arm. After that wake-up call and some surgery, Brannen began adding back simple pleasures like reading the comics and, when she walked past the piano in her home, stopping to play for a few minutes. She bought a kayak and splashed around in a nearby lake.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014