COLUMN : to make work seem like play

comments 14


since i work a lot and my job is also my hobby, it’s easy to never take time off. especially since i work from home, sometimes the lines between work and play become blurry. i’m guessing a few of you who work from home or are students can relate.

here’s what i’ve discovered about myself – the blurry line doesn’t have to be a bad thing. sure, i need time devoted completely to work, and breaks where no work is allowed. but i probably feel most at home in the blurry in-between.

when i’m not working too intensely, feeling stressed and in life-and-death mode. when i’m not too lazy, having nothing to do, procrastinating.
but instead when i’m productively relaxed, what they call in the zone, in a flow. not rushed, not tired. but focused and creative. when things come easy. when ideas pop like popcorn. when work is fun and rewarding. that’s my favourite state of mind.

when you have time enough to go to a café to work, getting inspired by people in the street, and small indie shops on the way. this is what lots of days here in portland have been like. working while getting inspired. more inspiration in than what needs to come out, if that makes sense.


i’ve been having sort of a hard time accepting this about myself though. somehow i feel like i’m failing both at work and play when i’m in this blurry space in-between. like i’m neither working hard enough, nor getting rested enough. this is the logic of an all-or-nothing personality.

so i’m changing my mind. being relaxed while working must be ok. for all of us all-or-nothings out there, balance should be considered success. i always have to remind myself of that.

working, without intensity. relaxing, without procrastinating. as much impressions in as expressions out. and i know when i hit the right spot – i can tell straight away when i’m in that relaxed and still productive zone. usually it doesn’t take much. a cup of tea, some jazz, a comfy chair, a fun column to write – and i’m there. i create an environment that i know will tickle my creative nerve. it’s all about finding those things that get you going, whether that creativity is a part of your job or a hobby.

finding the bell that will get your inner pavlov’s dog to start drooling so to speak.

love // jenny

other columns you might like :
envy vs inspiration
how instagram changed my life
being addiction free – a road to happiness

p.s. make sure to never miss a post – follow me on bloglovin’ !

on the cute-as-can-be street division here in portland, taking a walk and then spending the afternoon working in café dapper and wise – me having green tea, and david black tea with plant milk as usual. our host sara had a weird ginger herbal tea, that almost tasted like a savoury soup. interesting, she seemed pleased with it.

wearing ZL by zlism bomber jacket, and brandi foo top (sponsored products)


  1. The coach in me says: Whatever works for you. Just as long as you are getting shit done, and not burning out, you just follow what feels right and to heck with the shoulds and musts.

  2. Pingback: MINIMALISM : How To Plan Your Day | Minimalist To-do List | Jenny Mustard

  3. This is such an inspiring post! I def fall into the all-or-nothing category. I’m planning to start my own food blog, but struggling to set aside time for it. I hope it can turn into something wonderful like yours one day. #Goals#
    And wow! It feels so surreal to read about Portland and Division here. I often walk pass the shops you posed next to in the last photo. It’s like two blocks from where i live. When did you come to pdx? Have you lived here before?

  4. You nailed it and I so appreciate you sharing! I think I almost needed permission to ease into this space that you described, and this post did it. Thank you!

  5. Shirley Chiu

    Thank you so much! I have been feeling guilty when I put off doing stuff I don’t like, and working on something else, or else not working a crazy amount and getting stressed. In other words, feeling like I need to be pushed to the max to feel good enough, even though I hate it and it makes me unhappy. It’s a good reminder and validation, that being happy and finding that middle ground is the best.

  6. Pingback: HOW TO PLAN YOUR DAY | minimal to-do list | becoming minimalist series | I Am Roles

  7. I really hope work can become this for me someday. When I can create and sustain myself with my creativity. It’s a little hard when you work in Suicide intervention to make work feel like play. But soon I may be teaching English in Japan, and I have always loved teaching and watching others succeed, or helping them along. I hope this is a step in the right direction for making work feel like play.

  8. I’m also a all-or-nothing person and it brings me much discomfort. However, your words made me realize that yes, balance doesn’t have to be “not good enough”. If I spend too much of my energy on something I get extremely tired. If I don’t spend any energy I feel guilty. So yes, balance matters. Thank you for the lovely post, Jenny ♡

  9. feeling like a cog / too poor to quit

    sadly, I work taking calls for tech support so I have back to back calls. I wish this could help me but it cannot.

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