The More Fun You Have The More Productive You’ll Be

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Semih Aykut
4 min readAug 27, 2022


Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

You can’t get things done without having fun in the long run. I had a long time trying to convince myself the opposite.

I was thinking like “Having days off is a waste of time and focus.” I believed trying to keep work and fun together in the same bag is also a waste of time.

I should confess that I still think the same way in theory but also ”burnout” is real. I can tell from the experience in software engineering, coding, creating products from the scratch and maintaining and managing the business, while you’re not having fun, you can’t keep going without losing productivity.

Desire to work, making the time and to be abstracted from everything does not guarantee you progress and productivity. When you silence your phone, turn off the notifications, don’t watch a movie, don’t see your friends, skip workouts, showers, meals or just wake up too early in the morning, things don’t get done automatically.

I recall from a talk of DHH (David Heinemeier Hansson) somebody asked him how to work 10–16 hours a day and complained about getting distracted. DHH’s answer was clear: “Maybe you need to aim for 5 hours then. You can get a lot of things done in 5 hours.”

I was really surprised to hear that! 5 hours of work may be more productive than 16 hours of work! It’s totally against the Elon Musk’s approach in which he suggests working all the time, going all in. Which sounds more logical to me (since building things need time, even you can spend days, months configuring the thing you built) but in practice you burnout if you keep going long enough! Burnouts have long backlashes!

Although I didn’t watch that movie that uses this proverb a lot, the quote is right:

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

We’re Not Computers

Photo by Tianyi Ma on Unsplash

We’re not computers. Our brains are not CPUs/GPUs that are designed to load batch of work and wait the correct outcome all the time. Our bodies are not machines that you would give the fuel or battery and oil and wait them to be active all the time.

So “Stop having fun and abstract yourself from everything that gives you pleasure, go into a dopamine detox” kind of advices do not work. Our brains do not go into a dopamine detox because it has the ability to release the dopamine within. And dopamine is not a toxin anyways. (When it’s released naturally by your brain)

I remember those times I tried to go into a dopamine detox when i first saw about it online. I was recalling funny things consistently and laughing alone and ended up releasing more dopamine than using a computer or smartphone.

Intentionally depriving yourself of fun, making yourself sad or down is the most stupid thing you can do. You need to be up to be productive. Uplifting music, stories, movies, uplifting people or an uplifting solitude is what you need.

Here comes the most important thing: Saying no to what you don’t want. Saying no to things that make you down or distracted or make you lose time and opportunity cost. OR YOU JUST DON’T WANT!

Cats’ Approach

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

I like the cats’ approach on that. They work when necessary. Get things done when necessary. They take frequent rests and get so energetic after them. You can peak your performance by frequent and short rests. Those rests can be bodily or mentally or both!

This approach makes you store energy. Since life is not a straight road but an interesting terrain with ups and downs, it’s handy to have that extra energy stored by not giving a damn about irrelevant things. Actually that was not an extra energy! It is your own energy that is not spent ridiculously. Why not use it?



Semih Aykut
Writer for

Computer Science BSc. I like electric guitars, swimming and cats.