When people are struggling to get organized, the weirdest piece of advice I give them is to add something to their to-do list: Joy. It is counter-intuitive. Why not just focus on the multitude of tasks at hand?
Because if you’re struggling, it means you don’t want to tackle the tasks at hand. They seem like chores. They’re heavy. They’re things that have to be done. Yep. So add one more: Joy.
Here’s the thing. Joy = energy.
When you listen to your gut and come up an idea to do something you love but haven’t been doing for one reason or another, that energy spreads to other parts of your life. It brightens dark corners. It makes you want to get through the stuff you have to do but don’t want to do so you can get back to your joyous task. It makes you happy.
Wait. You don’t trust me on this? Try it for yourself!
Take out a clean piece of paper and give yourself 10 minutes of quiet time to write down 10 things that bring you joy. They may be part of your life now, or they may be stuff you’ve only dreamed of doing “someday.” If coming up with 10 is easy, go for 20. It’s usually the last few things you struggle to add to the list that are the most interesting and may be the most joyous.
Set your list aside for a few hours, then glance through it and circle the first thing that jumps out at you and makes you laugh – either because it’s absurd or because you know you could never really do it. That crazy idea is now #1 on your joy list. Take a few moments to ponder. How crazy is it, really? Is there a baby step you could take today that would take you down this new path? Or if it’s not exactly possible, what would come close?
When you take action on this, more cool things will happen.
- When you’re working on something joyous, or are even thinking about ways to get something joyous done, your energy lifts and you feel more light-hearted.
- People who do joyful, interesting things are fun to be around so don’t be surprised if your new joyous activity draws in others.
- When you have an idea and you act on it, you get a great feeling of accomplishment. You made a decision and you took action. That’s fun.
- One thing leads to another… You did one joyous thing. What do you want to tackle next?
- You inspire others. “Wow. I wish I had as much fun as that person is having. What can I do that will make me happy?”
A spoonful of joy can take your life in whole new directions. I see your brow furrow. What’s running through your head that might be on your JOY list? 🙂
Here’s something that’s joyous to me – part of a set at Portland Players, built by Tim and Ashley. They’re going to let me “borrow” a few limbs for the opera I’m propping this summer. See how weird your “joy” list can be? 🙂
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