4 Steps to Balance Work and Outdoor Play

Work is something we all have to do and there is always something else we all would rather do, also known as play. Going outdoors is one of those things people yearn to do for play. This is normal as our species was developed outdoors for millions of years.

The balance between these two is one of the hardest things to accomplish, but it is not impossible.

It is a common misconception that if one were to find a job outside then you would be getting the best of both worlds of work and play.

Just ask any roofer and they will tell you that putting a roof on a house while it is 100 degrees is not exactly play time. Plus, the act of working means you are trying to satisfy someone else’s needs rather than your own.

So work is always going to be work and our goal is to be able to balance that work with play, specifically the type of play we do outdoors.

Set Goals

First and foremost you need to have a goal. Without the end game in mind, it is impossible to know whether or not the actions you take are good ones to make.

There are two different types of goals, the long-term and the short-term. I always found it best to start with the long-term so you can develop the short-term objectives to guide you to your ultimate goal.

Yes, we have already decided that our long-term goal is to have more outdoor play but now you need to be more specific. They can be big or it can be small. Do you want to bungee jump, ski, camp? Does it involve trees mountains, rivers, lakes, or your backyard?

Would you like more of the visual stimulation or the physical activity that comes with your play experience? Going to the ocean to watch the whales is different than going to the ocean to surf those gnarly waves.

When you figure out what it is you would like to accomplish then the next step is to prepare yourself mentally.

Visualize/Mentally Prepare

You are probably asking why this is a step. You’ve already decided that you want more outdoor play and have set goals for achieving these ends.

Sometimes, it is not that easy.

For the most part, people are stuck indoors for work and are staring at a computer screen. Transitioning from ideas to action isn’t as easy as a going from 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds like some cars can. Visualizing that you have already accomplished your goal will help

Visualizing will put you in the state of mind that you eventually want to be in and streamline your thoughts towards your goal. It might seem like a bunch of hocus pocus to some but it is free to try and see for yourself. Just give it 5 minutes a day and see how you feel.


If you have trouble envisioning where you want to be then I suggest to go outside and just be. If you are at work, during break time, take five minutes or so and just go outside and look around, smell the air, and physically feel what it is to be outdoors. Put as many of your senses in the scenario that you want to be in and it will help your brain focus on obtaining what you ultimately want.

Before or after work just take a walk, maybe to the closest park or just around the block. Sit on your porch, front or back, with your roommates or loved ones.

This may seem small but it is important because we are talking about balance. Life involves more than just work and play. Not everyone is willing to quit their job to go live in the mountains, Jeremiah Johnson style. There is nothing wrong with that, but that is like going from one end of the seesaw to the other.

Being outdoors will allow your mind to flesh out your long-term goals and flesh out your short-term goals so you can be mentally ready to take action.


Once we know what we would like to do, where we would like to go, who we want to do it with then all we have to do is plan out a time and be able to afford to go there.

You must free yourself from your time and economic restraints.

You can do this simultaneously by being the most productive at your job as possible. Don’t focus on getting more hours at your present pay rate. Be as productive as you can so you can get a better pay rate so you can work fewer hours and if your job doesn’t reward you for being more productive then you need a new job. If you do look for a new job then pick one that will accommodate your chosen path.

This might take some time but the sooner you start then the sooner it will happen. With this formula, you will eventually have the time and funds to accomplish what you set out to do.

Find out how much it costs and how much time you will need, then plan it out.


This step is short and sweet….. do it!4427396733_b37a240d53_b


After you have balanced you work and your outdoor play then it is just a matter of maintenance.

Perhaps you can relocate to another location that has mountains, lakes, rivers, or forests that are so close you don’t need to plan a whole week.

Since you have moved up in your job and built up your resume then perhaps it’ll be easier to find better work with better pay. It is all up to you on how far you want to take it.

For most people this is way easier said than done but if you start small with the idea then you can make it happen.


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