A few weeks ago I was hitting a wall (figuratively) over an essay I was writing. I had been enjoying the essay but the ideas I was grappling with were a real stretch and my brain was tired. So four days before it was due, I sat down to begin another marathon mission in the library and just hit.the.wall. I didn’t want to read another word or think another thought.
I stared out the window for a while and slowly it occurred to me that instead of writing this essay I could write it as script for a monologue and then record it! I was so delighted by this idea (and amused by its silliness) that I got a new burst of energy and kept on working. I wrote the script but when I finished it at 2am the night before the essay was due I had to face facts that I wasn’t going to be able to record it.
I’m not sure whether my monologue script would have been better as an essay, but from the perspective that on that morning in the library I was about to crash and burn, getting through and even enjoying the final days of writing the essay was a win.
So I got to thinking about whether we should aim to make everything fun. Two important caveats to this thought:
1. Fun is subjective (duh) and sometimes it doesn’t take a lot to make something fun (look to my example further down as full proof of that). It could be as simple as painting your nails pink.
2. I’m talking here about making something that was otherwise dull or hard a little bit more fun. I’m not talking about avoiding the dull or hard work all together. I’m just wondering about the potential to make something a bit more enjoyable as a means to drive it to completion.
I am taking a Budgeting and Financial Management class as the moment. During class it’s ok. We’ve got two teachers who humour the questions and endless philosophising of Arts students. We have a laugh, it’s all good. But then I sat down to do an assignment that involved preparing a personal income statement and balance sheet and I was disheartened and bored within about three minutes. Challenging+interesting=good. Challenging+boring=recipe for Sarah to procrastinate on Facebook.
As I was struggling to remember how to calculate depreciation and what in my financial situation is a current liability and what is a non current liability, my mind wandered and I started cracking jokes to myself about how to calculate the additional expenses of keeping up with gendered expectations in the work place (i.e. hair, makeup and a variety of clothes). I was reminded then of the fun principle and decided to include a line in my balance sheet for “Gender liabilities”. I find this hilarious and silly which essentially makes it perfect.
But as with any good thought you’ve ever had in your life, it’s probably already been thought. Remember the Piano stairs?