When we were kids, our teachers used to schedule “recess” as part of our school day. This glorious hour of the day had no rules and no restrictions (other than playing “doctor” behind the tire swing). The bell rang, we ran around, and well, that’s about it.

But as we got older, recess fell by the wayside. We got too old and things got “too important” to have part of our day be so unstructured and unproductive. By the time we hit middle school, recess was nothing but a distant memory.

And now, here I am, much older, (I think) much wiser, proclaiming that we need to bring recess back into our lives.

It may not involve playing freeze tag or duck-duck-goose. It probably isn’t going to end with a carton of “Orange Drink” and cookies, curling up on a blue foam mat listening to Mrs. Morris read Berenstain Bears as we drift into a sweet, sweet nap…

But we, collectively, need to rethink our priorities and allows ourselves to be spontaneous. To take a turn every now and then down the path that may not be the most rational, but that excites and inspires us. That makes us happy.

Yesterday morning started with a drive back from a weekend getaway with my wife in Asheville. And ended with an impromptu stay in Knoxville for the night, eating pizza and drinking craft beer in our hotel room as we slowly drifted in and out of sleep watching Billy Crystal do his thing on the Oscars for the 2,918,743 year in a row.

It may sound lame to you. But that unstructured, unplanned addition to our getaway was the highlight of the weekend. It didn’t really make sense. The idea came out of nowhere. But sometimes, the best ideas are the ones you just do. Without question. Without planning. Without regard. Without worry.

We should all shake up the structure and bend the routine more often. As kids, recess was designed to do just that – in the middle of learning multiplication and geography, it was our opportunity to stretch our creative muscles, step away from the structure, and just “be”.

As adults, no matter how insanely busy you may be, you need recess. For your mind and for your body. Not only will it make you happy. It will bring you back to the structure with renewed energy and a rejuvenated perspective.

Ring the bell. Ring your bell. We’re not supposed to be still. We need to be running around. Playing. Learning. Living. 

(Photo credit)

About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. I also watch entirely too much Saved by the Bell, run marathons, and drink plenty of craft beer. Check out the work my company is doing at Proof Branding.