Katherine Hepburn once said "if you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun." She was a woman who struck out against cultural norms, embraced life, and literally wore the pants.
This past week I have been thinking about this concept a great deal and how to make work and obligations fun. I have come to know that by making something fun, you make it more productive and eventually end up having a more enjoyable life overall. If you enjoy your work, then it's not really work, is it? The design thinking process is inherently fun. Doug Solomon visited us this week at the hub and proved this concept to groups of nurses and executives. I watched them truly have fun and engage with each other in new ways. One of his core aspects to creating an innovative culture is to make it fun. By seasoning your tasks with fun, you can change your behavior and those around you.
So how do you make things more fun? Some of my ideas below:
Don't follow all the rules: Ok so you should still obey traffic laws, and the actual rules and regulations set in place for safety. But why not take lunch early, or late and eat something new? Maybe decide to work outside for a day if you can, or set up tasks that involve others who you enjoy spending time with. Make a meeting to check on emails or do other tedious tasks with your friend so you can work and have a good time. Sometimes just breaking a few unspoken rules can be so liberating and make you feel happier. Watch cat videos or comedy on your next break, whatever makes you laugh and relieves some stress, instead of gossiping or ruminating over unfinished tasks (like you are "supposed to").
Play games: If I feel overwhelmed by emails or by organization I try to game-ify the situation in my mind. Why not see how many emails you can respond to in ten minutes? Set a timer and GO. This way you quit procrastinating and can even get a reward at the end. My rewards are usually a fresh cup of coffee or water (so lame, I know...surely you can be more creative).
Show and Tell: My absolute favorite brainstorm warm up activity is where you take a random object, such as a paper clip, slinky, tape, chain, or whatever is on hand and tell a totally ridiculous and outlandish story about it. Basically show and tell about the object but in a way that is so far removed from what we actually know it to be. For example, last week we took a slinky and created a story that it was a wormhole created by actual worms and this slinky is proof of their intelligent life and now we need to look out for the worm world beneath us. There is no bad idea-just like in brainstorming. Just have fun!
Don't forget color: Color has a tremendous affect on mood. A seriously simple way to have fun is to use color. Try using colored pens for a week. Get an arsenal of them and use them to take all of your notes. Or even colored paper! Play with it like Matisse and cut out some shapes. You will find just a little bit more fun each time you write something down or need a scrap of paper.
By injecting fun in your tasks you should find some more motivation and enjoyment out of ordinary tasks. To prove having fun works to change behavior, take a look at this video at how a simple change led to more people taking the stairs instead of an escalator.