Fielding nonstop phone calls, juggling multiple projects, keeping the kids on schedule, making sure to eat and occasionally exercise, leaves little time for the fun stuff you’d much rather do. While everyday obligations can and do take precedence, it’s also important to carve out time for yourself, time to do whatever you enjoy. Here are some practical (and easy) ways to do just that.
- Forget the to-do list when it comes to fun
While some experts recommend scheduling time for leisure pursuits, hobbies and fun projects, new research from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, MO suggests that scheduling takes all the fun out of fun. By assigning a specific date and time, the opposite effect can occur. Instead of having fun, you may wind up regarding the activity as a chore.The solution? According to researchers, allocating “roughly scheduled” leisure activities — a certain day, but no specific time — can make it feel less like work or a chore and allow for more fun.
- Adopt a mindset that prizes pursuit of enjoyment
What is fun but something that makes you feel good, motivates you to pursue it and produces lasting memories? Too many people relegate having fun to a time when they’re not crushed with deadlines or some unknown future date. Instead of placing value on the pursuit of enjoyable activities, they tend to diminish the importance of having fun.Instill in your mind that the pursuit of enjoyment is not only OK, it’s absolutely essential to your overall well-being.
- Network with others who also love to have fun
Nothing is more contagious than being with people who share your passion and participate in similar fun activities. By finding such people and associating with them on a regular basis, you expand your social network at the same time you broaden your appreciation of having fun. Whether it’s a garden club, skiing group or good friends who get together to share recipes, travel, see movies or engage in other pastimes, your network can help jazz up your fun time.
- It’s not a contest. It’s supposed to be fun.
If your fun activity starts to feel like a contest, you’re likely defeating the purpose. Fun is not intended to be stressful; just the opposite, in fact. It’s great that you might be motivated to descend the slope faster than your friend, or finish the crossword puzzle before your partner, just take care that the overriding intent is having fun, not racking up a win.
- Tend to work early so you have guilt-free time to play
Diving into a fun-time activity can prove difficult if you left a mountain of work undone. Could procrastination be a factor? Maybe starting work earlier and tending to what needs to be done in a timelier and more organized manner will help eliminate the guilt you feel when you rush off to play. Granted, you won’t get everything done and working yourself into a frazzle in order to finish everything will only add to your stress level. Strive to strike a balance between work and play so that you feel good about your efforts in both.
- Remind yourself that having fun is good
Brené Brown, PhD., in her book The Gifts of Imperfection says, “a critically important component of wholehearted living is play.” You want a well-rounded life, so that means you need to do more than just work. Play is essential to leading a happier, healthier life. Sometimes you need to remind yourself of this.
- Take regular vacations
One long-recommended way to make fun-time a priority is to take vacation time — and go on a vacation. Leave the work at work. Forget about being tethered via social media, email and cell phone. Another tip about vacationing is to explore something or some place that’s new. Expand your horizons and discover activities and pursuits you may have only read about.
- Keep a list of what excites you
If workdays are becoming one long bore and an endless chore, it helps to have a list of fun activities that you especially enjoy. Refer to this list and revisit it or use it to brainstorm new pursuits. This is your fun crib sheet and it’s perfectly OK to keep adding to it.
Fun image from Shutterstock.