“I’m an epic procrastinator. If I know something isn’t due until Friday, I think about it and worry about it but don’t actually do anything about it until Thursday,” my client Carrie told me on the phone.
I know how she felt, having been a pretty big procrastinator before myself. But as we talked more, we discovered that procrastination wasn’t her biggest issue, Carrie always got her work done, it was the reason why she procrastinated that was the surprise.
Here’s what tipped me off- I asked her what she did for fun, and after a pause she said, “I don’t have a lot of time, but when I get home, if there’s time, I’ll watch Netflix or walk the dog. I don’t know, after work I’m pretty exhausted.”
See therein lies the problem, she lost touch with the true meaning of FUN. Watch netflix? Walk the dogs? Get chores at home done? See how none of this is really all that appealing?!
No wonder Carrie was having a hard time kicking the procrastination habit, there was nothing exciting going on after the work, nothing fun, so why not just fill that time with more work?
It seems so basic, but a large number of women have lost touch with how to truly have fun.
Sure we’re short on time (always) and tired after work, but living a life that is all work and no play is more dangerous than you think. It affects SO much, your relationships, your weight, how much stress you carry, it even affects your job performance:
Research shows that a 13% increase in morale can result in a 40% increase in productivity!
So if your overworked and default to Netflix for fun, keep reading. There are different types of fun, and you really have to know which one works for you to really enjoy it. Years ago, Gretchen Rubin wrote a great article about the different types of fun.
Gretchen points out 3 different types of fun:
- Challenging Fun
- Accommodating Fun
- Relaxing Fun
Challenging fun may sound tough, but it’s actually the most rewarding. It’s demanding, it consumes time and energy, especially if it’s mastering a new skill- like learning to play tennis. You have new tools, practice new skills, have unfamiliar rules, new vocabulary, and awkward motions (my Christmas gift in 2016 was tennis lessons, so I know this firsthand). But it pays off, because when you get it, this is the most satisfying fun.
Next is accommodating fun, not as challenging but still requires some effort. This takes effort, organization, and coordination. Think birthday parties, weekend brunch, BBQs, or even going out to see a movie. This type of fun strengthens relationships and makes memories!
Relaxing fun, on the other hand, takes no effort. Think watching Netflix, watching TV, listening to music. There are no skills or plans required, and as you probably already know, think of it as low-impact fun.
Research shows that challenging fun and accommodating fun make people happiest, over the long haul. Relaxing fun is the least kind of fun, yet watching TV is so popular- we get to shut our brains off, plop down and do nothing. Challenging fun and accommodating fun require some effort, but we get so much more out of it – building strong personal bonds, learning a new skill, personal growth.
So you need some energy leftover at the end of the day (or the week) to have fun. If you’re stuck and you want to be happier, you canNOT use up all of your energy on your work tasks and to-dos. Read that Abraham Hicks quote again – working more does not make you a better worker.
Great, now that I pointed out the problem, how can you determine WHAT is fun for YOU?
Pretend you’re 10 again.
Seriously, it’s the same thing I told Carrie. Think back to what you used to do as a little girl. What kept you up until bedtime, what did you get lost in doing for hours, what did you used to love to do? It could be as simple as reading, dancing to great music, baking, playing with your dog, making crafts, etc.
At 10 years old, I loved to read and explore. Just going to the library was incredibly fun, I was excited to pick out a new book and sit down, ready to get lost in the story. I could spend hours at the library. I also loved riding my bike to explore a new place, and spending most of the day outside.
And Carrie? Her 10-year-old-self loved to draw, she begged her mom to sign her up for a summer school drawing class one year. So, at first, it’s ridiculous to think that drawing more could make Carrie procrastinate less…BUT Carrie signed up for an online art class, and this type of challenging fun was exactly what she needed. She now has something to look forward to after work, something that really fills her up, and something that is truly fun!
So here’s my challenge for you- what if you made (just a smidgeon of) time for the things you truly enjoy? No guilt, no pretending, no more binge watching Netflix…just time for your kind of fun. Pick one thing you loved to do as a little girl and commit to spending just 10 minutes on it in the next week. Have fun!