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4 Tips to Not Take Yourself Too Seriously

Categories: Culture, Article

JW Way Fundamental #27: Don’t take yourself too seriously."Maintain a healthy perspective on your work and professional life. There are more important things going on in the world than your daily challenges. And remember to have fun. Fun renews our spirit, keeps us energized, and helps us think more clearly."

Maintain a healthy perspective on your work and professional life. There are more important things going on in the world than your daily challenges. And remember to have fun. Fun renews our spirit, keeps us energized, and helps us think more clearly.

I was in law school when I instituted my “mandatory fun” rule. For the first time, I was finding it difficult to make time for activities I loved while keeping up with the rigors of school. The rule is simple: schedule at least one hour a week (but preferably a day) to do something you love, that fills your soul, and has nothing to do with work, school, or other similar commitments. It can be anything from having a meal with a friend to watching a new movie to taking a leisurely walk around your neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the mandatory fun rule was thrown out the window along with other routines in the wake of the pandemic. It became challenging to justify having fun when so much uncertainty loomed around me. It was not until a recent trip to my hometown where I got to reconnect with childhood friends that I remembered why the mandatory fun rule exists in the first place: to give perspective on what is really important and remind myself to not get lost in the monotony of the daily grind.

As many of us continue to spend substantial time at home, it can be hard to distinguish “work time” from “fun time,” but here are a few tips and tricks I have learned along the way:

  1. Set a start and stop time. There will always be more work and things left on your to-do list at the end of the day. Instead of attempting to get through all of them, set a specific start and stop time for work and commit to engaging in other activities after the stop time.
  2. Schedule fun time ahead of time. Fun time doesn’t always have to be spontaneous. Having something to look forward to each week often motivates us to work hard and play hard.
  3. Think like an outsider looking in. For whatever reasons, humans are often kinder and more forgiving of others than we are of ourselves. Try to envision what your life may look like to an outsider and the advice you would give yourself from that perspective. Are you working too many hours or not setting aside enough time to embrace the things you love most in life? Check in with yourself regularly and reassess and realign your weekly schedule, as necessary.
  4. Laugh. If all else fails, remember to find the humor in life and take time to laugh about situations that at one point seemed stressful and are now funny in retrospect. Carry that perspective with you as you go about your daily life.

About the Author: Alden Thomas is a partner at Jaburg Wilk who primarily practices in the areas of education and employment law. She assists students with discrimination claims and responding to alleged honor code violations, including plagiarism. She also assists students with petitions to change their residency classifications and appeals of denied petitions.