"It changes the quality of your day," Rhimes tells PEOPLE of allowing herself time to play with her kids

By Patrick Gomez
November 07, 2015 09:30 AM
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Credit: James White

Shonda Rhimes is a busy woman.

In addition to being the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, the executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder is also mom to daughters Harper, 13, Emerson, 3, and Beckett, 2.

So, when Rhimes made the resolution to begin saying yes to opportunities she had previously avoided, an unintentional side effect was less time with her kids, she writes in her new book Year of Yes.

So Rhimes found a way to say yes to her daughters as well.

“The most significant thing that I think really changed my life was saying yes to playing with my kids and letting myself play,” Rhimes says in the current issue of PEOPLE.

The writer now allows herself to be 15 minutes late to dinners and other events if one of her children asks her to play with them as she is headed out the door.

“That really changed the quality of my life. It’s made me a happier person,” she says. “It changes the quality of your day.”

Rhimes says this practice has brought her even closer to her daughters, but she never explicitly told them of her resolution.

“I didn’t tell [Harper] because she probably would have started asking for things if she knew it was the year of yes,” Rhimes says with a laugh.

For more from Shonda Rhimes – including passages from

Year of Yes – pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now