Monday Motivation: Halloween Edition

I don’t know when I started getting anxious about interacting with strangers.

When I was a kid, trick-or-treat was not even a question. The task was simple: go to the door, knock, say a thing, get candy. Boom. Then do it as many times as possible before people started turning off their lights and hiding.

Now? If I get a piece of mail that belongs to my neighbor, I’m immediately in crawling-over-enemy-lines mode. I pull out spreadsheets and paper bags and I focus on not losing my mind over having to actually walk over and give it to them for the love of God why.

It’s so important to try to recall that joyful abandon that most people had as children. When we were kids, we had no problem asking people for things. We could wear stupid crap and love every second. We didn’t worry constantly about being judged (maybe now and then but not like adults do). We would draw pictures and paint and at no point did we go, “I’m not sure if this crayon dinosaur is really promoting my brand. Could I be doing something better with my time right now?”

Play. Don’t overthink the tiny things. Get stuff done because once you get that stuff done you can do something fun. Decide why you want something and then do the thing. Because remember the really, really great part about being an adult: you don’t need permission from anyone. No bedtimes. So long as you aren’t hurting anyone, you get to decide what you’re doing.

Now go get some damn candy.

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Love the Things You Love

Dare to grab hold of things that make you really happy. Even if no one else gets it. Even if there isn’t a greater goal.

Watch cartoons. Read comic books.

Draw. Paint. Get a bucket of chalk and work your sidewalk until the rain washes it away.

Make things without agency or intention beyond bringing something into existence that wasn’t there before. Don’t you realize how godly that is?

Dress up and stay home.

Play with action figures.

Make castles in the sand.

Stop thinking about it.

The Name of the Game is…Just That!

I am very proud of my most recent newsletter about how to gamify your day job. And I decided, because I love you all so much, I’m going to share it here.

Want more? If you’re not on the How to Have a Day Job list and you’d like to be, click here and fix that!

rolldiceHow to Have a Day Job
On how to make the daily grind more fun, or taking a lesson from a killer puppet doll

One of my favorite Vines of all time is one that was aired on an episode of the raunchy Internet video television show, “Tosh.O.” It featured a man being menaced by a version of Jigsaw from the Saw franchise, who asked in a gravelly voice, “Would you like to play a game?”

“What game?”

“Raise this baby.”

As Jigsaw handed over the infant, the man looked properly aghast and screamed in horror. “That ain’t no game, that’s life!”

And it was really funny, but then it got me thinking: who made the decision that life couldn’t be a game? That our serious roles couldn’t just be a little more fun?

Luckily, I’m not the only one who feels that way. Gamification is on the rise. The basic definition of this is when one uses the idea or design of play in applications outside of games. So whether it’s with Fitbit, task-oriented apps like HabitRPG or making your own personal character sheet with game stats on it with Chris Hardwick, people are looking for ways to ease up on taking everything seriously.

Day jobs should be no different!

So here we go. 5 ways to make your day job more like a game and less like…well, work.

1. Bond, James Bond — How about a day as someone else? I like to pretend now and then that I am a completely different person when I go to work. Although there are certain limitations to this — you can’t really afford to take on the persona of, say, Batman, but how about Bruce Wayne? Make believe that you just have to get through the day and afterward, you’ll be off to fight crime. Or perhaps you would be Sandra Bullock from The Net, and your gateway into cyberspace has to be unlocked through a series of spreadsheets. Have fun with it!

2. Set the record straight — Of course, getting a lot done during the day is going to make people you work for happy, but what about you? Why should you care? Challenge yourself to raise your productivity by even a little bit by keeping a scorecard and giving yourself different levels of rewards. You might even keep a jar on your desk and every time you fall short, you have to put some change in. When you finally succeed at whatever task you’ve given yourself, you can use the money for a treat. Everyone loves treats.

3. Mortal combat! — Making your job more fun doesn’t mean just playing with yourself. Challenge a coworker, if you have a good rapport with one, and see who can reach a certain goal sooner. Or, if that’s not really the type of place you work, pick someone who has a particular trait that you want to take on. Maybe there’s a team lead that’s always quick to make a joke in a bad situation, and you suck at being funny. Observe them carefully and start practicing the skill. Imagine yourself becoming better, excelling beyond that person’s status (even if it’s just in your head).

4. Make my day — Choose random people to do good deeds for. Watch them scramble around trying to figure out who did this nice thing for them. I love sneaking around and doing stuff for people. I sometimes combine this with #1, and pretend that I’m the most charitable ninja ever.

5. Take it outside — Play doesn’t just have to happen at your desk. Give yourself a challenge on your commute or during your breaks and lunches. Go outside and try to find types of wildlife around your building. Take a different route home and stop somewhere you’ve never been before. Take a drive during lunch and people-watch at a local neighborhood.

Being an adult means getting to decide how to take control of your life and make it more awesome! Get out there and play!