With the summer approaching I’m reminded of those family vacations where, despite our best intentions, we become so focused on fitting everything in that we forget to enjoy ourselves.

The same thing can happen at work. We get busy checking off items on our “To Do” list, and that feels good for a while. Until we realize that we’ve been neglecting the very things that make work satisfying – those things that made our hearts sing. The “fun” part! How does this happen? For me, because I work in a public relations role it’s necessary to be reactive. If a reporter calls, I have to answer. If a parent has a question or complaint, I have to respond. That’s my job and at some times of year it can be all-consuming.

The fun part for me, however, is the proactive part – creating new strategies and concepts that will have a positive impact. I love to work on presentations and articles that explain the transformative nature of a sales experience. Writing this blog is FUN for me, because I love to write. I have fun working with my colleagues, and I have fun being a part of the professional development of so many bright, young people. I have fun working as a career strategist for my private clients and helping them find their life’s work.

I’ve committed to putting more “fun” into my summer work this year. And, I’m creating a protocol so that I don’t miss the stuff that truly needs my immediate attention. Which is really the key, isn’t it? After all, very few of us work in real life or death situations where we must respond immediately. But if I look at my own behavior, sometimes I act like I do and that’s to my own detriment.

Do you want to put more fun into your summer this year? What would happen if you stepped back and considered that maybe those urgent demands you respond to every day could actually wait a little bit? What if you picked one or two fun things and scheduled them into your calendar? Would the world fall apart? I think not!

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about failing to do your job. I’m talking about spending more time on meaningful things at work that give you real satisfaction. The fun stuff. If you want to join me in this experiment here are some steps you can take:

    1. Create a list of positive, proactive work and/or thinking that you want to spend some time on. Remember, only the FUN stuff, not the stuff you dread that keeps sinking to the bottom of your “to-do” list!
    2. Make appointments with yourself and put them in your calendar, just as you would a conference call or a meeting. A good goal is at least a morning or an afternoon (3 hrs.) every week. Protect this time like a lioness protects her cubs – it is yours!
    3. Learn and use the settings on your email to keep it from being a distraction. I turned off the function that has every message pop up on my screen when it’s delivered.
    4. Use your automated replies to let people know you are not checking email. You can set them for just several hours, or several days. “Hello and thank you for your message. I’m working on a special project this morning and won’t be checking email for several hours. If your matter is urgent, please call me.” Only the truly desperate (or truly ignorant!) will call you.

I hope you will join me in my pledge to put more fun into your summer. Let me know what your plan is and we can hold each other accountable. Here’s to a great summer for all of us!