Assuming you sleep 8 hours and work 8 hours, you have 8 hours left each day for everything else. And there sure is a lot of “everything else” pulling at you. It often feels like there is no end to the “life admin time” required in our daily lives.
If we break it down, our surplus 8 hours are spent on “life admin” that is most often:
Kid-min (this is a big one)
And on and on it goes. Where’s the “fun-min – our time spent on fun? We max out our “-min” time each day, wondering where all the time went, knowing we got necessary stuff done, yet often finish feeling like nothing was a standout “win” for the day. And at the end of the day, we are spent yet wondering what we got done even though we were zooming around all day.
Our inherent need for variety and challenge can be buried by an overwhelming sense of responsibility. As adults we too often delete play from our daily lives.
Yet, as Stuart Brown details in his excellent book, Play, “…play and work are mutually supportive; neither can thrive without the other. We need newness of play, its sense of flow, and being in the moment. We need the sense of discovery and liveliness that it provides. We also need the purpose of work, the sense that we are doing service for others, and most of us need to feel competent.
The amount of play is correlated to the development of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is important for cognition. The period of maximum play in each species is tied to the rate and size of growth of the cerebellum (which is in the back, bottom of brain and has more neurons than rest of brain and is responsible for movement but also attention, language processing, and more.)
From Now On
Give yourself some daily “fun-min” time. In honor of the upcoming Super Bowl (the annual championship game for American football), I’m going to spend even just a few minutes playing tabletop football, something I used to play with friends at school, at home, and at restaurants when I was a kid using a piece of notebook paper folded into a triangle. Find something fun you can do for even just a few minutes each day to make sure you put in a little “funmin” time each day. (See a short video showing my 19-year old daughter’s first attempt at playing the game with me to see it in action.)
(Note: And, in case you were wondering where exercise fits into this, if you follow the Funtensity principles we hold dear, your workout time is also “fun-min” time. However, you most likely do not workout every day. Funmin should be a daily activity.)