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FUN - You gotta have it!
by Jill Greenbaum

Fun-It's just like food, water, and shelter-You gotta have it!
Here’s how to ensure you have fun every week!

The Inspiration
My 17 year old daughter who trudged off to school one gray morning last spring feeling that school, chores, and responsibilities were all that her life was about-with barely time to breathe.

The Challenge
Create a tool for her to use to ensure not only that she has fun every week-but that she is aware of the fun she will have, and can anticipate, and reflect on, her fun times.

The Project
With a vision and lots of craft materials at the ready, I launched into creating a device for ensuring that fun will be planned for-and had-many times during the week.

The Translation to Our Work as Coaches/Caring Individuals

  • Do your clients ever talk with you about the “overwhelm” of their daily lives?
  • Do you talk with them about simplifying their lives, zapping their tolerations, living their values, and making active choices about how they spend their precious time?
  • Would your clients be able to use a tool that kept them focused on weaving more fun into their lives?

If the answer to the questions above is a resounding, “Yes!” then follow these steps-for yourself and/or with a client. It’s fun and it works!

Gather delightful goodies-arts and craft materials (scissors, glue/glue sticks, foam sheets/letters and shapes, pipe cleaners, markers, posterboard, construction paper), pictures of you having fun, pictures from magazines, etc.

Step 1. Reflect on your life

1. What’s fun in your life? (Brainstorm or least a dozen answers)
2. Create a representation (mental or real-drawing, collage, etc.) of you having fun-imagine yourself having fun in lots of different ways (by yourself, with others, doing something artistic, athletic, cultural, etc.) Or, draw a mindmap or write a list of the ways you have fun.
3. Think of last week-yes, last week. Let’s take a close look-what did last week look/feel like? How much fun did you have-day by day? (Was last week a typical week for you?) Use my mindmap as an example for gathering your thoughts, if you like.
4. Are you having as much fun as you want? If not, why not? What are the effects of not including fun/relaxation/rejuvenation in your life?
5. Does your life currently reflect your values?
6. What values are reflected in your “fun” experiences? Do you want more of those values in your life? (Perhaps your fun experiences reveal your values of: adventure, connection, self-reflection, compassion, expertise, health/wellness, imagination, etc.)

Step 2. Digging Deeper

1. What do you want to see in your weeks? What do you need to feel refreshed and ready for all life has to offer? Make the time to think through the answers to these questions.
2. How will you integrate more fun into your life? What will you need to change in your life? How will you make the shifts? Will you want or need the support of family, friends, colleagues, and/or a coach?

Step 3. Let’s do it!

1. Use the materials you have gathered to create a template of a week. Make it large or small, colorful, simple, and/or spare. Look at the examples of my weekly calendars and their descriptions. Every example has temporary fun activities that can be used to fill in the week-and the calendar is continuously recycled.

Step 4. Post it!.

1. Post/Hang/Use your Fun Week ! wherever you will see it regularly. Whether it’s hanging in your kitchen or you have used a hole puncher to insert it in your agenda, make sure you touch base with it at least once a day-providing you with the refreshing thoughts of the fun you’re having every week.
2. Make a time for planning your Fun Week! every week. Use your creation to ensure that you are on your path to a more fun, engaged, and connected life.

The Epilogue
I completed my daughter’s Fun Week! template in just over an hour and a half-and had thoroughly enjoyed myself in the process! It’s made of white posterboard (16 x 18 inches), with dancing figures surrounding the days of the week and bright marker writing proclaiming “Fun Week” and noting each of the days. It is posted in our kitchen on glass doors that lead to our deck.

My daughter uses bright 3 inch post-it notes squares to label each fun activity and posts them under the appropriate day (which changes almost every week). This week’s calendar shows her that she will engage in these fun activities: practicing for her voice lessons on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, talking with her best friend on Wednesday (the friend is in California), her voice lesson on Friday, and going to “the city”/NYC on Saturday. Examples of additional post-it notes include these activities: visit grandparents, go ice skating, go to the gym, go to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology program for teens). We all see her Fun Week! several times a day, yet the changing nature of the calendar, keeps it fresh and interesting for us.

The ideas that comprise this project and article have been shared with others--at an early morning Balance Session at the International Coach Federation Conference in Quebec City, November 2004. I generated four different formats for Fun Week! calendars to showcase at the session-and had a wonderful time doing so. The participants in the session were provided with opportunities for thoughtful reflection, camaraderie, discussion about their findings, and materials to create their own tools. Each participant went on her way with a method for ensuring the inclusion of fun in her life every week.

Please contact me with your thoughts and comments about how you have used these ideas to have more fun in your life every week. Fun-You gotta have it!

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