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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Fun

In Forge. More on Medium.

🎉 Tip: Make an activity slot machine (it’s simpler than it sounds)

Our brains love randomness. It’s why Las Vegas casinos are expecting big re-openings and why we scroll through a million boring pics on Instagram for the chance of stumbling upon something magical (like this impression of the iceberg showing his friends Titanic for the first time). On Medium, Eve Bigaj shares a way to use this psychological phenomenon to infuse some joy into your evenings: Create your own activity slot machine.

How it works: Write various activities on strips of paper—include chores, simple pleasures like reading a book…

🏡 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, what would you do if it was your first day here?

Do you ever look around your life and feel sort of deeply, existentially meh about it all? You’d be forgiven for feeling this way, especially if you’ve been in the same place with the same people for over a year now.

Ross McCammon writes in Forge about a time when his children were bored, and he presented them with a mental challenge: “Pretend this is the first time you’ve ever been to this house. This is an Airbnb now, and you just walked in…

🐱 Today’s tip: Make time for play.

You make time to work, and probably you make time for your Important Hobbies with Tangible Results (quarantine macrame, anyone?) But what about just regular old pointless play? Ruth Terry writes on Medium about how in pandemic times, she’s learned life lessons from her cats, including the importance of play. As Terry puts it, all work and no play can lead to “depressive boredom, a ‘mix of lethargy and agitation and restlessness,’ that studies show can have negative mental health effects.” That’s why it’s actually important to play like cats do, “with no…

🍹 Today’s Tip: Plan a “Little Saturday.”

When you really think about it, there is no good reason why anyone has to save all their fun for the weekend. This week, take a page from Scandinavia, where people celebrate lillördag, or “Little Saturday.” Plan to gather (in whatever way is safe for you right now!), have an indulgent meal, mix some cocktails if you’re so inclined, and have a little weekendy celebration on Wednesday night.

As Lauren Allain writes for Forge, “Having a small celebration on Wednesday to look forward to helps break up the monotony, and it helps reinforce…

🍿 Today’s tip: Make a normal TV veg-out session into a movie night.

“In our busy, goal-driven society, it’s easy to overlook the delight found in the little moments,” Itxy Lopez writes in Mind Cafe. “We try to achieve so much in so little time that the beauty of life itself gets lost.” Lopez writes about how she and her family make a practice of making mundane moments feel really special, from spontaneous dance parties to no-reason game nights.

She recalls a time when she and her family were watching a television show, and set up a bunch of blankets…

🗓 ️Today’s tip: Ask yourself, “Where are the holes in my schedule?”

Fun is all well and good once you’ve finished your homework…but the problem is, when you’re a grownup, you’re never finished with your homework. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t make time for fun. As entrepreneurship coach Charlene Walters writes on Medium, it’s easier than you might think. Look for holes in your schedule, she advises, and “search for places that you have downtime that you can better allocate. Maybe you’re spending 10 hours a week watching Netflix without realizing it. …

Today’s tip: Reduce your subconscious stress by closing some loops.

As James Surowiecki writes in Forge, having “open loops”—that is, unfinished tasks on your list—is surprisingly exhausting. That’s because even if you’re not consciously thinking about them, they’re still draining mental energy in the background, making it hard to focus on what you’re actually doing in the moment.

And this applies to low-stakes, small open loops too. Even the fun ones, like a list of unwatched TV shows you keep meaning to burn through. So, as Surowiecki writes, “Deal with them, so your mind can stop worrying about them…

📺 Today’s tip: Block off time for some senseless, silly, fun media.

When we talk about “media diets,” we tend to talk about how to cut out the junk. The goal is to hook ourselves up to a steady stream of nutritious information that doesn’t leave any room for the brain-rotting stuff. Right?

But a really balanced diet has room for both kale and the occasional marshmallow. Follow Julio Vincent Gambuto’s example and find one place in your life to swap out something serious for something fun. In Gambuto’s case, a nightly CNN habit gave way to HGTV binges. Your…

A woman wearing a Joker face mask peering through a crack.
A woman wearing a Joker face mask peering through a crack.
Photo: Graiki/Getty Images

Here is an actual thought I just had: Oh boy, I know what would be fun! A *different* flavor of tea! Yes, it’s a cry for help. But also, I’m probably not alone in finding that life during Covid has skewed toward the monotonous.

Seven or maybe 100 months in, “something like life has resumed and suspended panic has mellowed into sustained malaise,” as Rachel Sugar writes in Vox. She recalls going to an outdoor comedy show and wondering, Is this fun? “What was fun? I can no longer remember… Is Emily in Paris fun? Is a Zoom birthday party

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