Episode 83 is short and sweet because I want you to listen, and then I challenge you to take immediate action on what you hear in today’s episode.
To cut to the chase – I challenge you to GO HAVE FUN. Seriously – it’s that simple. Or at least it seems that way, right? But here’s the thing – if you’re a business owner or a professional climbing your way up the ladder at work – it’s easy to get caught up in always having more work to do, there’s always more that can be added to the to-do list… just ONNNEE more thing. And all of a sudden, the day is over, or the weekend is over, or the season is over – and you look back and realize that you didn’t really have a whole lot of fun. That you had all of these ideas for things that you wanted to do… but you didn’t actually do them. And now the window is closed because summer is over or the opportunity is gone.
So – In Episode 83,
I’m encouraging you to go have some fun
But, c’mon guys – I’m not just going to tell you to go have fun without giving you some pointers for actually making it happen
So I’m sharing some fun ways that you can make fun happen for yourself, your friends and your family as you’re heading into the warm summer months – since it’s June as this episode is published – or, really anytime of year. Fun is not summer exclusive.
If you listen in on how I plan for FUN in this episode and your wheels start turning and you want to make planning ahead a regular thing, I’m here to coach you through it and help you make it happen.
Introducing – Get a Game Plan: 3 Steps to Design Your Winning Week. Get a Game Plan is my proven 3 step process for getting your priorities straight, designing an ideal week and doing a weekly planning session – just like the one I talk about in this episode. If you want to get your game plan and win your week before it starts, click here to get access to Get a Game Plan. Your sanity and stress-free weeks will thank you!
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. And Jane a dull girl.
I don’t know about you, but All work and no play makes Anna a sad, burned out, snappy, irritable and exhausted girl.
I’ll never forget…
Ugh – I’ll never forget, back in 2015 – I was still working in Crisis Communication at a Boutique PR Firm in New Orleans and all at once, each one of the clients in my crisis portfolio had… well – a crisis. Not one but two universities I served were in financial crisis, a local, high-profile nonprofit was battling the media over embezzlement allegations, a restaurant was facing blowback over a crime committed on site months prior. Plus – I was putting together my first strategic planning session for the communications team at a Fortune 100 company headquartered out of state.
Early mornings. Late nights. Travel. Not a lot of sleep, and not a lot of fun. I missed a friend’s baby shower. I missed family dinners. I had to cancel plans. It was pretty terrible. For about two months, I worked what felt like nonstop.
While I know that my situation in crisis PR is the extreme, I 100% know without a doubt that it’s a way of life that I never want to return to – and I don’t want that for you either.
We NEED to have FUN!
Having fun – whether it’s playing softball in the park with friends, taking your kids to the children’s museum, playing fetch with your dog – or needlepointing a cheeky pillow – we need to have fun to replenish our spirits and reinvigorate our creativity.
We need time away from work, to have fun for the sake of having fun – because it’s just plain good for us.
And plus – what’s the point of working super hard and making money if you’re not also making a life? I believe it was Dolly Parton who said – Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.
Let’s make a life, y’all.
How do we make time for more fun?
So how do we make sure to make time for fun?
Enter – the bucket list.
If you’ve never heard of a Bucket List – it’s a list of experiences or achievements that you’d like to have during your lifetime, you know… before you “kick the bucket.”
Do you have a bucket list?
Maybe you’ve got a super detailed list that lives in a Google Doc or a special journal. Or maybe your Bucket list is floating around in your head. Or maybe you’ve never really thought about it…
No matter which of those three categories you fall in, I want to give you space right here, right now to ponder your answer to this question:
When you’re 80 years old, sipping sweet tea – or a margarita or an iced coffee on your front porch… what do you want to look back on and remember? What stories do you want to tell your grand kids – or your BFFs in the retirement community.
Now before you get overwhelmed thinking about a whole life’s worth of things for your bucket list, we’re going to break it down into some smaller, more manageable pieces.
The Great Thing about a Bucket List
The great thing about a bucket list is that – sure – you can think big picture and create one for your whole life. And you can think short term and create one for just a season.
Like a Summer bucket list, for example, a list of everything you’d like to do this summer.
Or you can make a themed bucket list – like a Brunch Bucket list – all of the brunch spots you’d like to visit.
It really can be anything… but in this episode, I’m going to encourage you, challenge you to create a bucket list of some sort.
So how do we do this?
01. Decide what kind of list you want to make
First – Decide what kind of bucket list you want to make. Let’s say you’re making a Summer Bucket List.
02. Decide WHEN you’ll make your list
Your next step is to decide WHEN you’re going to make your Bucket List, and put it on your calendar.
For example, if you’ve got kids – you can bring up the discussion over dinner and have a family brainstorming sesh. Just ask – what are some things you guys want to do this summer? And add it to the list – you don’t have to make any promises, just get their wheels turning and work on it together.
You could even crowdsource among your friends next time you see them. For my mom’s 50th birthday, I had her friends write down fun things that she could do in the next 50 years. It can be really fun to see what your friends come up with – probably ideas you wouldn’t have had for yourself.
And – you can get your significant other involved, as well. On our honeymoon to Costa Rica, Scott and I used hotel stationery notepads to write down date night ideas that we could do whenever we got home. We still have all of those notepad date night ideas, and they’re one of my favorite souvenirs from our trip.
You don’t have to go on a honeymoon to Costa Rica to write a date night bucket list, but promise me you’ll set aside some time specifically to make your list.
03. Decide WHERE your list will live
And if you’re thinking – well where’s the best place for my list to live? The answer is – wherever you will look at it regularly. You could post it on the wall, maybe on the fridge if it’s a family list, you could keep it bookmarked in the pages of a journal, or in a Google Doc bookmarked in your Browser or in a Trello card that you can get to quickly. Or – fold up notepad pages from a Costa Rica resort work well too – we tucked ours in a big mason jar when we got home. The options are endless – just go with what feels right to you.
So once you’ve made your list – here are two strategies to take your Bucket List from ideas to actual adventures.
Strategy 1: Put some dates on the calendar.
When I interned in DC in the summer of 2007, one of the best pieces of advice that I got before the trip was to make a list of all the touristy things I wanted to do in DC, and decide in advance which weekends I would go to museums, monuments, and restaurants. Because – even in a city like DC it’s easy to fall into the pattern of working during the week, sleeping in on the weekends, going to the grocery and just generally sitting around. I was told – your intern summer will be over before you know it, and you just can’t cram everything in DC into one weekend. So – that’s what I did, I mapped out my super cool tourist activities in advance – saw everything I wanted to see and lived happily ever after.
So that’s what we’re going to do with our Summer Bucket List. Put some dates on the calendar. Pull out your planner or pull up your Google Calendar and start mapping out when you’ll do a few of the things on your list. With a summer bucket list, you’ve only got a few months to work with – so that means that you’ve got a few weekends that you can use for Bucket List adventures.
Do you need to book travel? Buy tickets? Make a reservation? Plan for childcare? Board your pets? What can you do now to set yourself up for Bucket List Adventure success later?
Strategy 2: Look Ahead
If you’re thinking – well that sounds awfully boring – what about being spontaneous and living in the moment? You can totally do that, too! That’s where the strategy number two comes in Look Ahead.
Back in Episode 60 I shared with you how I Look Ahead every week to plan for the weekend. Definitely go listen to that episode if you haven’t yet, but here’s a quick summary:
On Thursday mornings, I have a reminder set to Look Ahead to the weekend and make some decisions. It’s literally a block in my calendar called Look ahead.
It’s so easy to get through the week, and then make it to Saturday morning and look around and think… okay what are we going to do today?
You can accidentally waste half the day before you even decide how you’ll spend it. And if you’re like us and have small kids that require a lot of prep to get out the door – you’ve got a small window before naptime that you can actually get out and go do things.
During my “Look Ahead” block, I ask myself:
What do we want to do this weekend? This is where you can pull up your bucket list.
I ask myself: Do I need to buy tickets or make reservations?
And finally: Do I want to try any new recipes?
I have a folder of Southern Living magazine tear sheets – plus dogeared pages in cookbooks with recipes just waiting to be tried. Usually desserts and apps – I’m not really into cooking “real” food.
Asking these questions in advance gives me a chance to make plans for fun on the weekend.
The JOY is in the Anticipation
And for those of you who still aren’t quite on board with planning for fun in advance – I’d like to share this with you:
There are three different opportunities to enjoy and savor an experience. First is the The anticipation before the experience. Then, the experience itself, in the moment. And finally, the reflection on the experience with your memories. The before. The During. And the After.
The planning phase is your before – that’s your anticipation where the excitement builds. Studies have shown that the anticipation phase before a vacation is actually the happiest part of the entire experience – even more so than the trip itself! The same goes for other types of experiences that might be on your bucket list. Don’t cheat yourself out of that next level happiness by just winging it every time.
LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
My new mini-course – Get a Game Plan: 3 Steps to Design Your Winning Week