by Dave Crenshaw, author of “The Power of Having Fun: How Meaningful Breaks Help You Get More Done“
When it comes to having fun, how are you doing? It’s sort of an odd question, isn’t it? It’s certainly not the kind of question most would use to initiate conversations at parties.
Having fun is more valuable to your life — and your career — than you likely realize. Most people would respond to that question by saying they are “fun-loving”. It’s an easy claim to make, yet so few achieve it. How you perceive yourself is just window dressing. Regardless, what counts is how you live.
Think about moments of fun in your life as being an “oasis” — a refreshing respite necessary for rejuvenating your psyche. It’s a welcome vision of a sparkling blue pool, palm trees shading a soft cabana, and fruit juice and ceviche by the truckload. Best of all, it is not a mirage. It is real and soul-refreshing.
An “oasis” represents a moment that YOU create. It sums up whatever you define as a meaningful break, and it is an analog I had to create in place of a word that doesn’t exist in the English language.
Determining Your Desert.
Before you can find a dazzling oasis in your life, you first have to determine where your “deserts” lie. A “desert ” in this sense is an extended period of deprivation and/or chaos related to your personal, family, or professional life. Like the desert journeys shown in old Hollywood movies, it is the struggle to get through a barren wasteland to civilization.
Many people experience a desert as an entrepreneur or starting a new job. Insecurities may seep out and make you unsure of your actions. You may also find that you haven’t taken time for yourself or spent time with the people that are closest to you in months. It can leave you feeling drained, guilty, and alone.
Determine what is in your life that you’re putting off or carrying around with you like sandbags weighing you down. Ceaseless deprivation creates deficiency. Enduring chaos engenders fatigue. And, as the great coach Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
So, what’s something you’re enduring right now? What is a situation that is beating you down and making you feel like you’re surrounded by chaos? This is the desert you’ll want to address first.
The Three Oases.
If dragging yourself through the barren desert has left you sunburned and thirsty for a little fun in your life, it’s time to discover, or re-discover your oasis. However, not all oases (the plural of “oasis,” seriously!) are the same. There are three different areas of our lives where we can create an oasis:
The Personal Oasis is all about you making time for you. It’s your “me time,” and you should carve out enough time in your schedule to have some fun outside of working hours and away from everyone else.Can you schedule 30 minutes for yourself to do something fun by and for yourself, each day?
The Family Oasis strategy is about spending time with the people you love — and who love you most. This includes anyone that you consider a close friend or relative, as long as you feel a close connection to them. They need the power that comes from the dedicated, focused time you spend having a little fun with them.Can you schedule one hour each week, to do something fun with someone else?
The Work Oasis is how you go about taking little, meaningful breaks during your normal work schedule. The ideal cycle is a ten-minute break for every ninety minutes of work. Whether you are a solo entrepreneur or working in a multinational behemoth with tens of thousands of employees, the Work Oasis is vital to your productivity.Can you implement more frequent and meaningful breaks in your workday?
An oasis is a powerful tool — not just to give you happiness, but for getting more done in your day. Believe it or not, people who establish fun moments of oasis become more productive and more successful because they feel that the work is worth it now.
Living It Up
It’s time to dig deep and figure out how you can build oases in the midst of your desserts. Address the issue. Stop carrying the anxiety and anguish of your desert around with you. As you do so, you’ll start regularly filling up your “fun canteen” with the essential reserves of enjoyment, and establishing a lifetime of oases.
Have a great idea to create an oasis in either your personal, family or work life? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
As an author, speaker, and business coach, Dave Crenshaw has transformed thousands of businesses worldwide. He is a master of helping business owners triumph over chaos. His first book,”The Myth of Multitasking: How “Doing It All” Gets Nothing Done“, has been published in six languages and is a time management bestseller. He is also author of the upcoming book “The Power of Having Fun: How Meaningful Breaks Help You Get More Done“.