Is Play a Legitimate Way to Deal with the Crunch?

The Crunch, defined by Chris Guillebeau in the Art of Nonconformity Blog, is “the time when you focus all your time on the project at hand.”  Its the time when the deadline looms so large, you can get an adrenaline rush just by looking at your calendar.  The time you think a 40th cup of coffee is ok at midnight and you can justify not cooking, cleaning or taking the laundry out of the dryer for weeks. After all, YOU have a deadline.  You want or need what is on the other side of that deadline enough to sacrifice all semblance of normalcy to get it.

Chris Guillbeau says make lists.

Your doctor says exercise.

Your mother says take your vitamins.

But I say. PLAY.

Play is where the creativity and innovation come from.  Play is joy and joy is energy and energy gives you what you need to push through everything that fights against you accomplishing the uphill battle to the deadline.

Do you agree? How do you play when your life is really intense?

Here how my kids and I played taking boring PR photos.

Dogs and pearls

Labradoodle in Pearls


We laughed so much I had to go iron my face.  And then I got productive.

Labradoodle with pearls


  1. Awe, you look beautiful. It also helps to have a cute, adorable thing beside you! 🙂 I can tell you are having a very intimate conversation at one point, but apparently her answer was hilariously funny, ending with you ironing your face. haha

  2. The king in ancient Greece had commissioned a pure gold crown from a goldsmith. When the king was presented with the crown, he became suspicious that it was not pure gold. So he summoned Archimedes to figure see if he can figure out (without damaging the crown) whether the crown was made of pure gold. Under tremendous pressure from the king, Archimedes thought and thought without any progress. It wasn’t until he went to the bathhouse to relax and noticed his body floating in the tub that he got his inspiration for buoyancy and density. He yelled “Eureka!”, ran out of the bathhouse and ran naked on the street.

    Elias Howe was an inventor of the sewing machine. He had been struggling to match the speed and efficiency of a rival’s machine. Frustrated and exhausted, he slept one night and had a dream. He was tied up by a tribe of cannibals. He was bound and carried back to the village where he was thrown into a huge pot. They started lighting a fire under the pot. Every time he tried to get out of the pot, the villagers would poke and prod him back in with spears. He noticed something strange about the spears. All of the spear tips had a small hole in them. He awoke from the dream and realized unlike a normal sewing needle where the eye is at the end, the eye had to be near the point of the needle. He yelled “Eureka!” and ran naked out of the house and into the street (well, not quite true).

    Thanks for jogging my memory of these stories…

    Stress and pressure are enemies of creativity. There are psychological studies where when you give subjects a problem that requires a creative solution, offering greater reward actually hinders the subjects from figuring out the solution. Play definitely reduces stress and pressure so that your mind is free to be creative.

    What you are going through seems more like a death march rather than a crunch. To me, a crunch is shorter, like a week or less and it seems like you just focus all your energy to get it done. Death march on the other hand is longer with a constant heavy workload for weeks. Play or some other type of stress reliever is definitely needed in this case. The worst case is when a crunch comes at the end of a death march. That’s when it feels like you’re beating a dead horse…

    And you know, it wouldn’t hurt if you also listened to your doctor and your mother. What they recommend is not mutually exclusive, but I have to agree with you, it’s not as fun!

    1. Great stories! I am familiar with them, but I have never though if them as illustrating play as a precursor to innovation and problem solving. Very cool.

      Yes. It’s been a long haul. But the excitement of this adventure–going out of town, doing something new, getting a little recognition for my work–keeps me going. I don’t really know what to expect, so it’s all just interesting and new.

      Thanks for your insights!


  3. Tiffany–your escapades and extravagant experiences make me smile when I think how much fun you are having– thank you for sharing it with some of us who live half-a-world away!

  4. Late to this discussion, but better late then not at all. You art exudes from everything you do and it is as intoxicating as it is inviting….damn you’re breathtaking!

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