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3 Secrets to Making Time for Fun Most Busy People Miss

Nothin’ but Fun

-Speed Peek  (3 Secrets for Fun)
-Understand More/Anti-Challenge
(How To Change Bogged Routine)
(5 Specific Q’s to Sort Wants/Needs)
(How To Instruction Want/Needs)
 -Background on Feature Image
(Nothin’ but Fun)

SPEED PEEK

3 Secrets to Making Time
for Fun

I can’t be the only person who has felt overwhelmed by a schedule packed so tight, that you could not slip a piece of paper between things on the “To Do” list.
“Who has downtime for fun? My downtime is when I eat and sleep.”
That’s how I use to live; it’s not how I live today. What changed? I was willing to investigate different points of view about these topics:
-My responsibilities
-My time
-What experiencing 
all of my life is worth
-The fact that change in routine is a natural part of life

3 secrets I found, took into consideration, and put into action, have helped me break the cycle of edging out joy, and reintroduced me to fun!  The best part:  You can apply them at any stage in your life.

SECRET #1
Change that bogged down routine.

Consider:
There are routines we follow to maintain our daily lives; some things really must be done to meet needs.  Skip them, and we face unwanted consequences. However, would it surprise you to hear some aspects of the self-mandated rules we follow are not about filling “needs”? Sometimes the specifics of a need-oriented task have hidden ‘wants’ built-in; set in place only because they have been the standard you, or others, have come to expect.  More often than imagined, a compromise can be found that eliminates difficult to fill wants, or exchanges them with acceptable, more realistic substitutes. The result: Needs are still met, and everyone involved is soon happily adjusted.  This extra time is valuable; it can be used to bring better balance to a busy life. No doubt, a little fun will be in order.  (See Understand More/Anti-Challenge for specifics)  

SECRET #2
Put it on a Lazy Susan

Consider:
No matter how carefully we prepare our schedules, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to squeeze in every thing on our To Do list, all at one time. This is where the feeling of being overwhelmed can easily take over.
My solution:

Put Everything in your life
on a Lazy Susan.
– Holley


To understand this concept, first understand what a Lazy Susan literally is. It’s a round, tabletop size turntable. Sometimes seen at restaurants holding condiments, it is positioned in the middle of the dining table.  Everyone seated can reach an edge and turn it, until the item they want is easily within reach, without having to lean across the table.
How it applies to being overwhelmed:
Figuratively putting all of your responsibilities, and things you enjoy, on a Lazy Susan, is a way to see life as less complicated.  By picturing my responsibilities and other activities on a Lazy Susan, it was easier to remember they are physically separate from me; which helped ease the feeling of being overwhelmed. Visualizing them as separate from me also reminded me I had the choice whether or not to pick them up; resulting in a sense of control over them, rather than them controling me.  Imagining my activities on a Lazy Susan also reduced the feeling of stress, brought about by the worry that I would not be able to get around to some of my necessary or desired activities.  Of course I could get to them; they were right in front of me on the Lazy Susan, within easy reach.  Picturing my activities (how I spent my time) as items set before me, rather than feeling they were hanging on me and pulling my strings, made it much easier for me to get into action, because I soon realized it was up to me to turn the Lazy Susan to what I needed or wanted.  I was so happy to discover that my command of the Lazy Susan also included the ability to arrange these items on the turntable, making room for larger chunks of time to spend on the activities that bring me joy.

SECRET #3
Include the small stuff -Everyday

Consider:
It’s not all about carving out large chunks of time to have fun; another key to having fun is about taking advantage of the small bits of time we let pass by.
The next time you come across something you’re curious about, or admire, give yourself permission to stop for literally 1-3 minutes and acknowledge that you’re enjoying it.
Believe it or not, this is more helpful than it may first sound; it can also be more difficult than it sounds, if you’re not in the habit. An easy way to kick start this fast burst of enjoyment, is to literally explain to yourself “why” you’re drawn to it.
Go ahead, try it!  Make it your mission to spend those 1-3 minutes the very next time something catches your eye and let yourself enjoy it!  Whether you go about it quiet and stealthily, or don’t care who notices you’re admiring an ant climbing a wall, or you’re staring up at a tree, just do it.  If you don’t seem to notice anything at first, look again at your next opportunity.  It’s not a contest for the coolest discovery, it doesn’t have to be an epic wonder; it only has to be interesting to “you”, at the moment.  There are things we pass by every day that can catch our attention; we just ignore them, because we “don’t have time”.

Bonus Hush-hush:  Especially when you are feeling extra bogged down, it goes a long way toward getting that boost of fun to think to yourself, “This is my time; I am quietly insisting on time for myself.”  This is exactly how I started to appreciate much more in life, which led to how I now truly see each day as an adventure.  Beginning with taking small, 1-3 minute snippets of time, at my own time of choosing, brought an empowered, lifted feeling inside that helped strengthen my positive outlook.  In turn, my willingness to incorporate more overall happiness was sparked.

Understand More –
Anti-Challenge Reframing©

Weeding Wants from Needs:
What To Change & Why You May Want To

I’m excited to pass along more detail about Secret #1 Change that bogged down routine!  Once I really began embracing this life lesson, not only was it effective in freeing up my time, but my stress level was noticeably reduced. I should mention that this change did not occur over night, in one fell swoop. Just as other habits take repeated effort, so did restructuring the routines for my responsibilities. But wow, what a huge difference it made! This is perhaps one of the largest nuggets I’ve gained over the years; it is worth more than gold to me, as the saying goes, and I hope over time you find it of great value too.
This concept is easier to follow by combining the explanation of Understand More, and the How To of *Anti-Challenge Reframing.
Note:  This week’s Anti-Challenge does not demonstrate traditional **reframing methods; however, the mindset described as a solution, is very close in nature. The difference is:

  • In traditional reframing, you change how you feel about a situation, but the situation itself does not change.
  • In this case, you change how you view a situation, in order to potentially change it.

The purpose of making these adjustments is to create room for more balance in your life.
THE CHALLENGE:
1. Consider the difference between needs and wants within the scope of your responsibilities.
2. Determine whether or not all of the measures you now take, to meet the necessity portions of your responsibilities, must be carried out in the way you currently presume they must.

Changing your view about the current way you structure meeting responsibilities, and actually altering the way you perform your tasks, is where you will find a solution for making time for fun, and overall better balance.

Have you ever felt like a hamster running on a wheel; going so fast, that there was no time to think where you were running to? How about the feeling of non-stop rushing; trying to complete back-to-back errands or projects that are scheduled so tight, any change threw you off track?
With a busy life, there are many things we spend our time and energy on without giving thought to why we are doing them.  In fact, the majority of the time, busy people are acting on autopilot, either out of habit, or to conform to what they believe is necessary.  It is true that carrying out tasks in an automatic way without question can be a great asset and make life run smoother. It is also true, that it becomes a problem if we find ourselves continuing to fly on autopilot after the point of feeling overwhelmed is reached. The insistence to press on, further depleting our already taxed energy and time, comes with a high price.

By it’s very nature, our constant rushing eliminates a key ingredient needed to attain the happy, memorable life we are trying to create by juggling too many balls at once. This key ingredient is balance. Without a balance between both effort and decompression time, months, even years, can easily tick by, without many real memories to show for the time we cannot get back.
I’ve seen it (and done it) time and again: Taking on more responsibilities as new things crop up, adding them to an already overloaded schedule.  What eventually happens?  The more overwhelmed a person becomes, the farther their focus moves away from the initial goal of “happy”. Adding insult to injury, health is damaged.

If any of this sounds familiar, what can you do to change it?  One critical consideration many busy people don’t stop to think about is whether or not something can be changed in the details of how they accomplish the actually necessary portion of tasks that keep them so busy.  Before looking at how you can determine if details of tasks can be changed, let’s look at the bottom line of the 5 choices we realistically have in a pressured responsibility situation. You may recognize the situation by the feeling it results in, that stressed,I’ve GOTTA do it” feeling.
I’ve GOTTA do it” Options:
1. Stay overwhelmed and dance, fast as you can, while joy drains from your life; until something finally falls apart or you collapse.
2. Find an alternative way to getting the necessary task done.
3. Remove or adjust any procedures or preferences for tasks that are set in place only because they have been the standard others (or you) have come to expect.
4. Move the task to the Lazy Susan for another time.
5. Don’t do it; pay any consequences.

I don’t like the look of some of those options.  While many times a task will need to be deferred, or outside help enlisted, the option I’ve used most frequently is number 3: Removing some or all of the unnecessary detail work of a task.

To begin action with the option 3 solution, I needed to discover exactly what was bogging down my routines. This was accomplished by first sorting out what actions I was actually taking already.
Asking myself the following 5 questions/considerations is how I arrived at the specific answers I needed in order to change my routines.
They helped me define what was actually necessary for my responsibilities to be met, and conversely, where I was adding absorbent, time consuming work for wants, which could be changed.

5Questions/Considerations Asked Myself

  1. What is the actually necessary portion of
    the responsibility? [i.e. family
    needs to eat]
  2. Where did the outline of time consuming regiment originate?
    [Is there really any legitimate authority mandating the regiment?
    Are there any true repercussions for not following the regiment? Do yourself a favor; take your answers to at least two levels of “because” and “why”.  Stopping short at a first answer of “Because Uncle Bob wants me to; he expects me to.” will not lead you to your solution.  Make sure you get as far as at least one “repercussion” to get a fair look at whether or not the task is more important than what it will cost you.]
  3. Is the regiment outdated?
    [Has my life moved to another chapter?]
  4. Consider possible alternate ways to complete the necessities.
    [i.e. if Uncle Bob has a true need, you may want to find other alternatives for meeting his need. Or, you may want keep in your routine as is.  If you keep it and do not have time for balance in your day, you will need to put something else back on the Lazy Susan. If you do not have time for balance, something must go back on the Lazy Susan for another time.]
  5. What is the cost to my general well-being if no changes are made?

When addressing these 5 points, I had to weigh what I was really accomplishing, against what was being sacrificed in the way of quality of life; both in the cost to me personally, as well as those around me.  Cutting to the chase, I found it necessary to get the ball rolling by being very frank with myself; asking myself a question I really did not want to look at the answer to.  Though, as soon as I did, that is when action and change began to occur.

The looming question I had to ask myself:
“Are you spending a good amount of time catering to wants (my own and others), and hiding them under the false pretense of necessity?”
– Holley

The answer was yes.  The good news though, to my surprise, was I found the solution was nothing to dread; I had been running from shadows.  It was well worth the effort to take a close look at all of the actions I was taking to meet the tasks I was responsible for; it got a lot easier from there!  I soon found there were many compromises that could be made where “wants” or “acting out of habit” were concerned; freeing up more time than I’d imagined.  It was not a cake-walk making the time to look at how my time was spent in detail, nor was it a blast cutting out part of the wants, for a very, very brief time at first. In fact it felt like I was cheating myself or others out of something.  Guess what?  Most change does feels awkward at first. Before I knew it, and as fast as the awkwardness came, it suddenly passed. A very brief period of awkwardness getting use to a new routine, compared to years of feeling like a hallow shell by the end of most days… hmm? Looking at it in this factual way, I think I got quite a bargain!   If you find yourself miserable because you have no time left over after presumed necessary tasks, I highly suggest it’s worth your effort to at least take a look at what part of your schedule is necessity and what parts you may want to negotiate or simplify.

HOW TO:  WEED THE WANTS FROM THE NEEDS

  1. First, identify the fundamental need to be met (i.e. getting to work on time, home up-keep, preparing meals, spending time with family during holidays, etc.)
  2. Next, identify all of the steps you currently take to accomplish everything sitting under the umbrella label of “the necessary task”.
  3. Identify what can be changed, and change it.  BIG HINT: Tasks with a “specific” description are where to look first. Ask yourself: Can substitutions be made for the wants that take way too much time from your schedule, or deplete too much of your energy? Is there an alternative method that still accomplishes the end goal, but requires less time?  (Remember:  With the extra time you create, and your Lazy Susan, special wants don’t have to disappear forever; they can be worked in now and again, when it’s their turn.)

Life with Holley
“Anti-challenge Reframing©2018” was created from an idea, and partial terminology, derived from a comment made on my June 25, 2018 Instagram
spoof-post: “International Anti-Selfie Day”.  Thank you to Vaughan
(@vaughan.knight  Instagram) for your insightful, witty words: “You could offer
a ‘reframing’ service; new opportunities from old!  Start a new
anti-challenge whenever life doesn’t live up to expectation. Therein lies
something not to be found in the successful events.”

**According to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 9th edition. © 2009, Elsevier, [cognitive] reframing is: “changing the conceptual and/or emotional viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and placing it in a different frame that fits the “facts” of a concrete situation equally well, thereby changing its entire meaning.”

BACKGROUND ON THE FEATURED PHOTOGRAPH (Nothin’ but Fun)

The featured photograph is a great example of having time for fun; doing something I truly enjoy (photography, of course). It makes me smile when I realize that I still get a huge rush of excitement every time I decide on a spur of the moment to shoot. It’s so very freeing to have these bits of time to do as I please.
This hazy twilight evening was no exception. The neon…. that’s what pulled me to the curb on the one-way street downtown. Spending 30 minutes, for the sole purpose of enjoyment, is a luxury I could not have imagined at one time. Roughly 95% of my photo shoot time is in fact a direct result of my learning to initially take those quick, daily 1-3 minutes of “me time”, and the effort I put into learning how to free up more of my time by ‘weeding the wants out of my needs’. Yes, definitely worth it.

NEXT:
ACCEPTANCE
 Note: May be published
 as late as January 19, 2019
~ Might have to place it
 on the Lazy Susan to catch up.  😉

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