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Nov 28, 2012

Infusing Play Into Mundane Tasks

Nov 28, 2012 12:25 PM Posted by XiMnet Malaysia ,
Article written by Leo Babauta, featured in Design Taxi.

When I write about loving every moment and loving what you do, people often ask, “What about when you have to do something you don’t like?”

You can’t always enjoy what you’re doing, right? Actually, you can. You just have to remember what it’s like to be a child.


  • Sing as you do chores
  • Use dishwashing as a form of mindfulness practice
  • Make a game of computer tasks—see how fast you can get your inbox to empty (set a timer)
  • Give yourself points for checking off your tasks, and see how many points you can get each day
  • Skip instead of walk
  • Imagine you are in a movie when you walk into a meeting
  • Give yourself challenges
  • Make bets with friends when it comes to doing things you don’t normally like doing
  • Play music, dance around
  • Do a victory dance after you do anything good
  • Annoy your co-workers by calling them Jeeves
  • Only text people in Spanish
  • Play games to learn things
  • When you send an email, make fax noises
  • When you have to clean something, give a play-by-play of your actions with a Howard Cossell voice
  • Imagine that your co-workers are robots, or vampires (Bella?)
  • Talk to your computer, and give it a name
  • Pretend you’ve never been anywhere before, and that everywhere is new
  • Anytime you do something, ask, “What would Dwight Schrute Do?” (WWDSD?)
  • Try to rhyme your emails or tweets

Sure, there are things we have to do every day that we might think are boring: household chores, errands, routine tasks at work, being in a meeting that’s makes you want to pound your head on the table. But those are only boring because we’ve chosen to make them boring.

Though I don’t want to tell you how to play, by request, here are a few quick examples: OK, those weren’t all great, but I’m sure you could think of better ones once you get into the right mindset. We’ve had the play pounded out of us, from years of schooling and work. Bring the play back, by watching a kid and seeing how amazing life is for them.