“It’s the time-out that will allow you to catch your breath and rethink your game plan. It’s the quality time you need to spend, detached from the daily grind, that will enable you to regain control of the daily grind.” – David Allen

It’s 5:16 p.m. on Monday and I’m wrapping up my work so I can take the next three days off.

We rented a cabin on Mt. Hood and I plan to unplug and enjoy three “free days” with my family. I’ll be sipping hot cocoa, snowboarding and reading.

But to tell you the truth, even though this sounds “fun” it’s not exactly “easy” for me to do. I’ll explain.

As a typical Type-A person I struggle to relax and have fun. Even when I’m not working, my mind wants to constantly fixate on some project or task that must get done or some idea I should act on.

It’s like a never-ending stream of information. If this sounds familiar I have an idea I want to propose to you (and to me!). Here it is:

Take fun more seriously.

I suspect one of the reason I’ve had a hard time relaxing is because I’ve associated the word “relax” with “do nothing.”

And I hate doing nothing. This is why Sundays have been my least favorite day of the week. I feel like I’m forced to “do nothing” for my “day of rest.” And while this may sound great to some, for those of us who love getting things done this sounds like torture.

But even so, I still believe that rest is vital for a healthy and productive life. I just haven’t been good at it.

And one of the reason I haven’t been good at it is because I haven’t taken fun more seriously. It’s been one of those “take it or leave it” parts of life for me.

However, I’d like to change that.

So how do we take fun more seriously?

Here’s some ideas I plan to experiment with:

1) Plan fun: For example, I plan to snowboard at least 3 hours tomorrow. I also plan to spend at least a few hours with my family. I would like to watch a movie with them and spend some time reading. If I don’t plan these things it’s likely they won’t happen. Plus, planning gives me a sense of control which makes me feel good. So I plan to plan my fun. 😉

2) Remember why: I like to be intentional about how I live my life. I don’t like chaos or pointless activities. I refuse to play games where you don’t keep score and I don’t get “abstract art.” So when I think that “relaxing” means “doing nothing for no reason” it stresses me out. However, if I remember that recreation is about “re-creating” yourself and that it’s necessary for creative breakthroughs, then I can be at peace with myself knowing this is not in vain.

3) Resist work thoughts: I know I’ll be tempted to think about work. And that’s OK. But I don’t have to give into the temptation. So I can decide ahead of time that even if I’m tempted to go down that path that I don’t have to. If I get some “aha” idea I can write it down but I refuse to think about current projects or to take inventory of my to-do/project list.

4) Laugh: I don’t laugh enough. I take myself and life too seriously. I know that and so I want to laugh more for the next 3 days. So I’ll watch comedy, funny YouTube videos and tell funny stories with my family. Laughter is good medicine.

5) Make it a game: I’m determined to take fun seriously!! Haha, but it’s true. I view it as a game to win. I like challenges and it’s extremely challenging for me to unwind and relax. I plan to change that. I don’t want high blood pressure and I want to learn to breathe again.

So hopefully this works. And hopefully you got an idea or two you can test out. I’ll try to remember to update this post after my trip to the cabin to let you know how it went.