Playfulness: Who says boring things have to be boring?

Let's face it. There are a lot of things we have to do in life that aren't that fun.

Drudgery = 

  • Waiting in line 
  • Traffic
  • Grocery shopping with a screaming two-year old
  • Needing to do any sort of activity with a government agency (unless you are a CIA agent, then that could potentially be a lot more fun, albeit dangerous)
  • Writing reports
  • Attending meetings that just seem to go on and on...and on...and on–you know what I'm talking about
  • Doing tasks that are a part of our job description, but if we had a choice we would rather pull out our leg hairs one at a time with tweezers then do them

The list goes on, and on, and on. 

We don't have a choice sometimes. Life can certainly be a snorer. The drudgery can even escalate to stress, overwhelm, anxiety and depression if we're not careful.

Some tasks are just the furthest thing from fun. 

But...yes there is a but coming...

Wait for it....

Unless we MAKE them fun!

But how do we cultivate an attitude of fun when something is driving us up the wazoo, and all we want to do is run away to a tropical place and sip a margarita on the beach?


“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 

                                                   ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


I really admire Ellen Langer, she's an expert in the field of mindfulness. She's been studying it since the '70s. Long before it was the trendy philosophy it is now. She defines mindfulness as "the simple act of noticing things". 

 One of our family playful moments. In a Photo Booth that wasn't working. So we used my phone to take a picture. 

One of our family playful moments. In a Photo Booth that wasn't working. So we used my phone to take a picture. 

 

 

So I'm proposing that if we lean in and engage, rather than check out (i.e. pulling out our phones and playing solitaire) and approach life with an attitude of playfulness, we will have more fun. 

 

 

 

A couple weeks ago I was sitting at the clinic with my kids waiting, and waiting to get a blood test. I clearly chose the busiest time of the day, which happened to be around nap time for my two-year old. It was not a pleasant experience. I tried to engage in conversation with some people around me. I typically find that when I choose to strike up conversations with random people I meet in public, they are little golden moments that really brighten my day–adding the little sprinkles on the ice cream sundae of my day. This day I couldn't engage anyone. Everyone was glued to their phones. Everyone. It made me a little sad.

Those moments are missed opportunities for a little ray of light to break into the drudgery. Instead we fill our heads with distractions that we hope will alleviate the drudgery.  

I'm going to encourage that the next time you find yourself in a place where you are bored or frustrated, think of how you can mix it up. How can you inject a little fun into whatever you're doing, whether at home, on an errand or at work.

There is always fun to be had. We just have to look for it, and snatch it up.

Here's a little video I took of my husband putting oil in the car one evening. We drive an older car, and it burns oil. I get frustrated every time we have to put oil in, because it seems like the demise of it's drivability is looming.

I get frustrated every time, except this time. 

If you want to see Matt Pond's actual video for this song, Here it is: Matt Pond - Love to Get Used

So what about at work? 

A long time ago, my workplace hired Teresa Pippus to lead a workshop for us about creating joy in the workplace.

It really stuck with me. How do we inject fun into work? We tend to approach work very seriously, almost solemnly sometimes. I'm certainly not suggesting that we don't take our jobs seriously. Some jobs can have serious consequences when we goof up. I'm saying that we can have a bit more fun. Shake things up. Approach things a little differently, instead of the same old same old. 

Laugh.

Express gratitude.

Celebrate. 

Honour strengths. 

Back to Ellen Langer–she suggests that if we rename "work" to "play" it can be the difference between drudgery and delight. Delight it a much nicer word and it evokes warm fuzzies in me.

The video below is about the Fish Philosophy. For those of you from the Pacific Northwest, you have likely have heard of the Pike Place Fish Market. It's a bunch of people throwing fish around and having a really good time. The thing is this business was on the verge of bankruptcy, and everyone hated their job. 

Until they learned how to have fun at work.