Work – it’s a serious business. Or is it? Sometimes you have to take things seriously, but who says that you can’t have fun too?
I confess that since I love what I do I already have a head start when it comes to having fun with my work. But sometimes I have even more than usual. Here are a few examples.
1. Playing Hooky
One way to have fun is to do something other than what you’re supposed to be doing. When I wrote the first draft of this post, I had a couple of client projects on my desk, but I wasn’t feeling inspired, so I decided to write this first. That little bit of creative hooky recharged my batteries and I was able to do a better job on those client articles when I actually started. In the meantime, I had a lot of fun playing around with the idea of work and fun for a writer.
2. Social Media Marketing (Yes, Really!)
One of my favorite ways to have fun is with marketing, especially social media marketing. That’s because you can promote your business while still having a whale of a time. The other day, I asked my Facebook friends to help me choose my next business avatar out of three photos. It was interesting to hear what they felt each photo said about my personality and what kind of image they thought it presented. I learned a lot about how people see me and was able to use that to determine where I used the photos. And of course, I reported back on where the photos ended up. I know at least a couple of people checked out my LinkedIn profile and website as a result.
3. Making Quote Graphics
Here’s another way I have fun. If I’m stuck down a writing dead end, I’ll play around with creating quote graphics from one of my posts. (I use Pablo or Canva to do them.) There’s something pretty satisfying about combining the right quote with the right image. And it’s also fun to find the perfect image to illustrate blog posts and articles. (See why I have one of the world’s greatest jobs?) These tasks occupy my forebrain while my subconscious solves any creative challenges I’m facing. It works almost every time. For a more thorough creative workout, I create Slideshare presentations.
4. Exercise (Sometimes)
Then of course, there’s fun fun, aka getting away from your desk and doing something. The research suggests that people are more productive when they limit the number of tasks on their to-do list and take regular breaks to recharge. So there’s nothing wrong with taking an hour out of your day to play a game of squash, ride your bike or go for a run. Those are fun, but they’re also good for your health and your work. I’ve fallen off the exercise wagon, I’ll admit, but I’m currently rehabbing my bike so I can start again.
You’d think I’d get tired of writing, but I don’t. For recreation, I write poetry when inspiration strikes. This is a once in a while thing, but it’s very satisfying. Of course, inspiration usually strikes at 2am, but I guess you can’t have everything.
My 4 Rules of Fun
Although I enjoy my work and have a lot of fun, there are rules (at least for me) to help maintain productivity:
- First, don’t let the fun take over completely otherwise it might prevent you from achieving what you actually have to achieve.
- Second, don’t be so focused on what you have to achieve that you lose the sense of fun that will make it enjoyable and easier for you to be productive.
- Third, allocate sensible times for work and fun. If you’re creative in the morning, work then and have fun later. If you’re a night owl, flip the schedule.
- Fourth, if something’s not working, have some fun to change the pace.
Like everything, combining productivity and fun is all about balance. What do you do for fun?
Liked this article? Then you’ll enjoy the rest of the articles in this month’s Word Carnival. Each month, a group of wickedly smart business owners come together for the Word Carnival to discuss a business topic. Our theme this month: They CAN Co-Exist: Fun and Productivity. Being wicked productive doesn’t have to come at the cost of fun. Joy can be had when you’re at your most efficient.
24 thoughts on “5 Ways I Have Fun While I Work”
Nice post, Sharon!
I find myself definitely needing breaks to have a little fun during the day… especially on heavy writing days. (I’m sure you understand)
I usually will either take my dogs into the backyard to play fetch, go out and grab lunch with my wife… or sometimes I’ll go punch on the boxing bag in my basement for a little bit.
I’m with you on the lunch thing, Brent. My husband’s also a writer and sometimes we both decide to get a bite somewhere (sometimes at the beach, which is ultra fun and relaxing too).
I love your ways of having fun when you’re at “work.” I have twin toddlers so my freelance writing work day doesn’t begin until they have their afternoon nap at around 1 pm. So, all morning I get to have fun blowing bubbles, going to the park, gardening etc..
Of course, there’s chores and more chores, but that’s part of life. I find that I have to take breaks if I don’t have my creative juices flowing. I sometimes don’t start on a client task until I’ve had the time to mull it over in my head. It’s nice to have that affordability of time.
Been there, Elna. When I started freelancing, my daughter was about two and a half. And when she was younger, I worked a split week: two very long days at the start, then the rest of the week off for various baby groups, play parks and the like.
We must be distant relatives, maybe cousins, Sharon! You and I combine fun and productivity in many of the same ways. 🙂
I LOVE making quote graphics. Then again, I’ve always been a quote junkie. LOL! With the inception of all the wonderful photo editing platforms, I’m having a blast. From a business perspective, visuals work beautifully to enhance your marketing messages and messages of inspiration.
Exercise. I have a love/hate relationship with working out BUT I’ve found a way to get a brief session in most days. It takes my morning coffee about six minutes to brew. So I exercise while I’m waiting to pour my first cup of the day. Exercise + caffeine is a great way to jump start your day! 🙂
Taking breaks throughout the day is critical. Those days when I’ve sat in front of my computer for hours are exhausting. You wouldn’t think sitting still would make you so tired but it does. I get up, periodically, to take the dogs outside or to water the plants or just sit on the patio and enjoy the sunshine. It makes a difference. When I return to my desk, I feel energized again.
Three cheers for finding ways to stay productive and have fun at the same time!
Hey Melanie, I’d be interested to hear about your six minute workout – even I could probably commit to something like that. 😉
You’re right; taking breaks makes you more productive. When I sit at my desk all day without moving, I feel twice as tired that day AND the next, so it’s totally counter-productive.
Maybe we could find some time to jump on Skype, Sharon, and I’ll show you my exercise moves. Don’t worry. Nothing strenuous like push-ups or anything. 😉
Sounds like you’ve got the fun breaks thing down pat. (I knew you were a smart cookie.) Thanks for the reminder that exercise can be fun. I’m off to take a short walk…
Thanks, Tea. Enjoy your walk! 😉
Exercise is great; especially if you can do it WHILE working. I use meeting times with clients to have walking meetings whenever possible. If I’m on a phone meeting, I’m doing it on the exercise bike (muted in between my responses, of course).
It’s hard enough to have to try to squeeze in exercise at some point, but it’s totally worth it – especially when you consider the productivity gains from 30 minutes per day.
Good for you, Nick. I’m pretty sure if I tried to bike while on the phone, I’d end up misusing the mute. 🙂 But yes, it is worth it.
PowerPoint and SlideShare are my corner of fun, Sharon. Love combining them with a story.
Yes, you are rocking Slideshare, Cathy, and isn’t it great to be able to have so much fun with a legitimate business marketing tool?
I just love that you love what you do so much. That is awesome and like you say not difficult to combine fun and work when you love it. Going for a walk. The ultimate brain clearer. Especially with some music. And now I’ve found if I’m pushing my grand-daughter around, something about her enthusiasm for absolutely everything about her communicates to my brain and I start to feel the same. It’s infectious! Thanks Sharon for sharing your fun work balance tips with us.
I agree, Sandy; appreciating a child’s-eye view of the world is also a good way to alter your perspective.
Great way to frame our wacko career. I love to write too… and I also enjoy the few days I don’t write… going to try your quote graphics… sounds like more fun.
You’ll have a blast, Anne. I look forward to seeing and sharing your graphics. 🙂
Your advice reminds me of my recent conversation with author Dorie Clark who said that if we focus on a problem we aren’t as creative. But if we do something mildly distracting, we can be a lot more productive and creative. Weird to think that your brain works best when you’re not trying to MAKE it work! And that goes for fun – throw it into the mix and you will definitely be more productive. I do what you do when I’m not feeling the project love – write my own blog or do something enjoyable THEN go back to the other thing feeling more creative. Great ideas!
Thanks, Carol-Lynn. I guess we creative types must be similarly wired. 🙂
Sharon I love the idea of play with work. Picking out a task that’s fun and productive (illustrations also are a good one for me).
So great when you get to do the combo, Nicole. I can tell you have a lot of fun with your cast of characters. 🙂
Love your post! My own method involves things like playing video games. I’m a fan of World of Warcraft and due to the wide variety of things you can do it in-game, some of it is rather meditative (especially given that I’ve been playing off and on since game release…so…9 years…LOL).
So when stuck on something, I pop open a video game and let my mind zone out. Amazing how often I can find an answer after. I also find lots of solutions in the shower or in my sleep.
And sometimes, just sitting on the couch, vegging, binge-watching stuff on Netflix is good too.
Thanks, Janice. I’d never have thought of WoW as a zone-out tool, but I guess we all have our favorite ways to decompress. 🙂
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