Take a tip from Mary Poppins to rid yourself of the mundane
All of us must attend to routine jobs, but we don’t have to be drawn down into the grey world of drudgery to get them done. Mary Poppins had the right idea…
For all its 50-year-old charm and the faux Cock-er-ney Dick Van Dyck, there’s a more than a grain of truth in what Mary Poppins sings about finding an element of fun in every job that must be done…
And whilst we can’t accomplish all our tasks with a click of the fingers, we can pick up on the spirit of the Sherman brothers’ song and look for the fun in tasks we have to do.
Everyone’s life has an element of the mundane, and it’s too easy to allow it to take over and drag you in, for in the mundane lies boredom. But if you’re bored with life, then whose fault is that?
A client of ours often used to tell the story about snack lunches taken in a ‘greasy spoon’ café with colleagues. Same time; same café, same food and drink every day, to such an extent that they sometimes lost track of what day it was.
But then one came up with a great idea that was soon picked up by everyone in the group. Suddenly, he would throw a line into the conversation that made no sense, and followed on from nothing that had gone before. It was a signal that he had seen someone on a nearby table eavesdropping on the conversation, and had begun to fabricate a story to draw the eavesdropper in. The duty of everyone around the table was to pick up the thread of the new conversation, and take it in whichever direction seemed appropriate. The stories developed, said the client, were far-fetched in the extreme – they would talk about planning company takeovers, new inventions, and crime stories. The meal was often beans on toast, but it was always spiced with intrigue, and the mundane had become fun.
How you too can drive out the mundane?
So what could you do to drive out the mundane from your life? It doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t need a lot of friends to make it happen (though there’s no doubt that would help).
Vary your commute: Is there really only one way to work? Really? Work out another, involving a different mode of transport. Treat yourself to a first-class ticket now and again rather than simply a standard one. Could you cycle or walk at least part of the way? There’s a health benefit in embracing change.
Listen: Here’s a broad one. Try to pick up snippets of other people’s conversations in the street, and imagine the back story behind them Create your own around what they’ve said. If that feels too random, download talking books onto your phone; there are all kinds of titles available. You could be taken to new places with fiction, or even learn a new language is the otherwise ‘dead’ time you spend in the car or on the train.
Push yourself: Set personal deadlines and goals throughout the day, and earn rewards when you’ve achieved them. It might be about finishing a particular piece of work in a restricted time, or making more phone calls than you normally manage. The reward doesn’t need to be large, but it will feel more special because you’ve earned it.
Learn a new skill: Always wanted to be able to juggle, ride a unicycle, or make a stained glass window? So why don’t you try? None of those things will change the mundane in your life by themselves, but they’ll re-invigorate you and put more purpose in your life. You’ll have more to talk about, and people will find you more interesting. If nothing else, you won’t be frittering your life away by sitting on the sofa in the evening.
Buy more time: Managing your spending with a money management app like Solo Expenses will achieve two things. Firstly, you’ll have more time for the things that will pep up your life, and secondly, chances are you’ll be able to save money too, allowing you to afford them more easily. The app is free to download and easy to use. In fact, using it could add a new interest, and you can start now by clicking on this link
Remember, variety is the spice of life. How much you spice up yours is entirely in your hands.
Picture: Dennis Beck | Broadway Tour via Flickr