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Summary:

The most productive people I know are the ones who recognize that true productivity is not measured by the amount of stuff they get done, but by getting done the things that have the most meaning to them and doing them in a satisfying way.

Yesterday I attended my friend Bob’s memorial service. He was 62 years old. But this post isn’t about his passing; or how sad it made me feel; or how much I will miss him; or how extraordinary his wife and he were in these last months. It’s about something he said to me last year, and how inextricably linked I think it is with productivity.

Bob and his wife, Linda, were having dinner with my husband, Jon, and I, and in the course of our conversation, Bob said to me, “I have fun every day. It might be sharing a glass of good wine with Linda, or having lunch with a friend or seeing a great movie, but every day, I have fun.”

At the time, I remember thinking how extraordinary this was. How many people can say that? And Bob didn’t just have fun; he was a highly productive person. He got a lot done. He was an attorney, an executive and a business owner. He was one person we knew we could all count on to make something happen.

We have all heard the sayings, “Live everyday as if it were your last,” “Life is short” and “No one gets out alive.” But how often do we really take those to heart and spend at least some part of every day having fun? Enjoying our life? Reaping the rewards of our productivity?

I know that I am as guilty as anyone of getting caught up in the minutia and drama of daily work life. As web workers, we constantly have clients with emergencies, bosses who want more for less and co-workers who disagree with the way we’ve done something. But I want to take a lesson from Bob and honor him by striving to still have fun every day, despite those circumstances. In fact, I am going to start to make having fun a priority in my to-do list.

Along with proactively embracing fun goes reducing the antithesis of fun — burden. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about dumping bad clients. That’s just one example of a way to lighten the load at work so that more fun can come through. And while every day might not be a yuck-it-up, hardy-har-har of humor, dumping the things that drain you, and embracing the tasks that enliven you, will make you more productive.

The most productive people I know are the ones who recognize that true productivity is not measured by the amount of stuff they get done, but by getting done the things that have the most meaning to them and doing them in a satisfying and even fun way. That’s how I plan to remember Bob and to be inspired by his example of how to be productive — by doing something fun every day.

How do you add fun to your day?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography CC

By Karen Leland
  1. Always important to remember.

    I have little bits of fun by playing with the cat, eating chocolate and working out with the Wii.

    I also try to remember why it is I do what I do. That I actually do love my work. I have fun being a designer. I need to remember that when all the other complications threaten to obscure it.

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  2. I can definitely relate to “dumping bad clients”

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  3. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that very idea recently. The tough part for me is finally letting myself find those ways to have fun again. Maybe it’s the idea of letting too many people try to tell me what I should be doing and why my ideas won’t work, but I haven’t been enjoying my work as much as I used to. It’s gotten to the point that I just don’t even feel like attempting to find new projects.

    I’m hoping that I can find the fun in what I do again by finding fun. I used to go running for a while as well as read much more than I do now. I also used to just write exactly what was on my mind just to share it. For the next few weeks, I’m hoping that working off of my front porch may help me enjoy what I do again. Time will tell…

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  4. Hi Karen,
    I enjoyed your post. It is a good reminder to us not to take life so seriously, but enjoy the journey and laugh a long the way…. not to mention carry a light load.

    Althea

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