Many adults feel there is no time for play.

Our July trend trend report, “Play As a Competitive Advantage,” argues that in an age when people feel they can’t spare time for pursuits that don’t have specific goals attached, there will be a growing realizing that unstructured time begets more imagination, creativity and innovation. While preparing the report, we surveyed 1,006 adults in the U.S. and the U.K. using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool. Our research confirms that in today’s culture, play for play’s sake is absent from many adults’ lives—adulthood generally means mastering the art of maximizing productivity.

Around half of the adults surveyed said they don’t have time to play just for the sake of it and that they don’t do things “just for fun” anymore. As this chart shows, the impediments to play are many. More than 7 in 10 feel there is always something to take care of, and agree that mobile phones, texts, emails and social networking leave little time to breathe. About the same percentage see a negative consequence: that their lives have become gradually less creative and more structured. Increasingly adults will try to rebalance the scales and find time for purposeless activity—an urge that some brands are finding innovative ways to tap into, as our report details.