Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Make it fun, and if it can't be fun, make it funny.

We are tooooooo serious. I have just spent the last week of my life planning and budgeting and I need to have fun. Don't get me wrong. I love to plan and budget - honestly.

But there is another thing that we need to do more of. Chill out. Relax. Smile. Have fun. Laugh. Guffaw. Whatever it takes - crack a smile. My rule of thumb when it comes to work is this: if's it's not fun, then stop doing it and find something that is. Or find a way to make it fun.

I am talking about enjoyment. Letting go. Being creative. Exercising the other side of the mind. Releasing some joy from within. Somehow in the world of adult-hood, we have forgotten how to play.

And this, I believe with all my heart, is the reason that we struggle with work and why it feels like work sometimes.

Now, I am an experience play-planner so I believe I can impart some wisdom here. A couple years ago, I co-developed an entertainment / sports venture that was all about play. It was an indoor race track concept that my husband was in love with, and that I helped create the business plan. The whole concept was about play. The plan included corporate events, where people could bring their teams and play and then break for their meeting. It was brilliant and there are not many places for adults to play and work.

Play requires trust. Letting go is cathartic. But most people don't let go unless they feel comfortable. But friends, you gotta let go, and the majority have to let go all at once. That is the only way to get over the awkwardness.

A couple years ago, we had a department party at a local pub after hours. We invited everyone. We sang, danced and just had a blast. That fun night actually was the beginning of a very productive team environment. After that, we smiled at each other more, and we laughed a little more, and yes, we actually worked together better because we showed each other the human side of ourselves.

Play also helps us get through the times when work is intense. In fact, if you work in a high stress environment, you gotta play. When I was in journalism school the environment was intense. 25 students competing for stories, equipment and deadlines. It was very competitive to the point where we really didn't like each other most of the time. But every 3 weeks, religiously, we would have a party at some one's house, and danced, imbibed in spirits, and just get silly. We survived J-school, and I believe it was because we learned how to play together and work together.

So go play. Dance more. Smile more. Be entertaining. Be entertained.

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