Imagine an adult who forces himself or herself to work constantly, fielding calls, emails and meetings from morning till night, day after day, week after week.
That might sound a lot like you, but it's not a pretty picture.
Not to mention just as harmful to health, happiness and even productivity as forcing a kid to miss recess.
"Constant work creates cognitive clutter," said Laura Payne, an associate professor in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois. "That clutter stifles the openness that is so vital for problem solving and epiphanies."
In other words, working all the time can make a person worse at work.
"People tend to have their best ideas when they are not focusing their attention on coming up with the best idea," Payne said.
It's not only the quality of work that suffers. The professor also suggests that the widespread use of medications to treat depression and anxiety can be linked to Americans focusing too much on work on not enough on play. Many people don't even take time off from work when it's offered.
Recent surveys have found that U.S. workers take only half the paid vacation days they are entitled to. What's worse, the majority of Americans who do take their vacation days end up working while they are on vacation.
To counter this, some companies have started to incentivize their employees to take real time away from work. These companies are literally paying their workers to go out and play. FullContact, a Colorado-based technology firm, offers employees $7,500 to use their vacation days. But the rules are clear that any employee who works during this "vacation" is not eligible for the cash bonus.
Yet even when a vacation is truly free from the stress of work, not all play is created equal.
Researchers make the distinction between "active" and "passive" leisure pursuits. It's not a difficult distinction to grasp. Active pursuits are those that require getting out into the world.
They can take many forms, from sweat-inducing runs and climbs to thought-provoking visits to museums or new cities. Passive leisure pursuits, on the other hand, generally require little more than hitting the power button on the TV remote.
"In the long run, active leisure pursuits are far more valuable," said John de Graaf, the president of Take Back Your Time, a Seattle-based organization that aims to educate the public about the dangers of overwork.
"Active pursuits may be a little more painful if you haven't done them in a while, but they improve your health and allow you to connect with nature."
As de Graff sees it, spending vacation time kayaking or hiking provides a far more life-affirming leisure than binge watching shows.
But either one is preferable to taking no leisure time at all. Because all work and no play really can make a person dull. And stressed. And alienated. And when the solution to a problem is to play more, well, that's a treatment most people can probably endure, especially given the alternative.
"When we work all the time we become robotic and lose our individuality," Payne said. "People don't know their families and children. It becomes like a really bad movie."