“Make it fun to get it done.” — JD Meier
The Fun Factor is a simple concept that I baked into Agile Results as a way to remind people to integrate fun into what they do.
Around Microsoft it was a big deal, given how “serious” the work can be.
For me, it was especially important because I had been working on hard core challenges for Microsoft from security to performance to architecture.
But I also realized that I did my best work when I was having fun, even if the work was incredibly challenging.
And, I also learned that when it comes to finding breakthroughs and innovating, The Fun Factor can actually help a lot.
I find people are more creative when they are having fun and enjoying what they do.
What is The Fun Factor?
The Fun Factor method in Agile Results is the idea of incorporating elements of fun and enjoyment into your productivity practices.
The Fun Factor emphasizes making tasks more engaging and less monotonous by finding or creating elements of fun in your daily activities.
This simple act helps you enhance your motivation and effectiveness in achieving your goals.
The Fun Factor approach acknowledges that when tasks are enjoyable, you approach them with more enthusiasm.
This leads to higher productivity and satisfaction.
Given that I was notorious for taking on the tough stuff, this was a great way to balance it out.
And what I learned is The Fun Factor helped me transcend and transform classic productivity into energized productivity.
Why Add The Fun Factor to What You Do?
Using The Fun Factor in your work and life has several benefits.
First, it enhances your focus by making tasks more engaging. This reduces the likelihood of distraction.
Second, it contributes to achieving a state of flow. Enjoyable activities often lead to deep immersion.
Third, it fulfills a fundamental human need for joy and satisfaction, making work more rewarding.
Additionally, incorporating fun into your daily routines is a sustainable approach to productivity, as it promotes a positive attitude and reduces burnout, helping you achieve more consistent performance over time.
What is the Origin of the Fun Factor?
I added The Fun Factor to Agile Results in early 2000 because of a theme I noticed in productivity.
It tended to be a chore.
And that’s no fun.
But what really inspired me to make The Fun Factor explicit was a conversion with a colleague at Microsoft.
I was walking him through my Life Hot Spots framework, which is a set of categories for life management. At the time, I focused on Mind, Body, Emotions, Career, Finance, and Relationships.
He said I should add Fun as a category.
I told him the whole point of Life Hot Spots was you could add what you need. For example, some people add Spirituality as a category.
He said he got that, but by adding the Fun category and shopping that around, people might be surprised by how it changes how they do their work and live their life.
He was right.
What I Learned by Adding the Fun Factor to Agile Results
So, I added the Fun Factor and created a new category called Fun to my Life Hot Spots framework.
Here’s the surprise…
By making Fun an explicit category, I found myself rediscovering old hobbies I enjoyed, and trying new ones.
I would ask myself how I could turn my “chores” into “chances” to have more fun.
It inspired me to rethink what I truly enjoyed and what brought more joy into work and life.
I also remembered how Tony Robbins used “fun” or little rewards to write his first book fast. If I remember right, every time he finished a chapter, he hopped in his jacuzzi.
The Fun Factor opened up a new way to look at productivity and bring in the energy dimension even more.
After all, a mantra for Agile Results is: Better Energy, Better Results.
How Can We Add the Fun Factor?
The Fun Factor really got put to the test when I was in yet another startup group at Microsoft, and there was a lot of pain.
Everyone was giving their all, but it was a lot of grind.
People were throwing hours at their work and trying to grind their way through an endless backlog of tasks and priorities.
I just started asking anywhere and everywhere, “How can we add The Fun Factor?”
People started to get ideas. They started to appreciate the idea of pairing up on work.
They started gamifying their tasks.
One thing I used a lot was mini quotas. Can we create 3 ideas? Can we create 5?
By breaking things down into small hurdles, people started to leap higher and further.
How I Added the Fun Factor to Reading Faster and Writing Faster
I used 20 Minute Sprints as a way to gamify reading books and writing about them.
I would give myself 20 minutes to read a book. I didn’t always finish, but a lot of times I did.
And when i didn’t, I could use another 20 Minute Sprint to try again.
As you can imagine, this changed my game for reading books.
It’s fun to read books when you know you can finish faster.
And I found that adding The Fun Factor to writing helped me a lot, too.
Again, I used 20 Minute Sprints. My goal was to write and finish a blog post in 20 minutes or less.
This taught me a lot about what costs me the most time.
For example, it’s easy to share a story or personal experience or an insight pretty fast.
But it might actually be difficult for me to figure out the right title. In fact, it’s usually the part I get wrong.
And when it comes to finding images, I actually didn’t enjoy the process because it was especially difficult for me.
But what I did was reframe it as a chance to enjoy the images I find and to practice the ability to bring to life “a picture is worth a 1,000 words”.
So, not only did The Fun Factor help me enjoy the process more, but it helped me optimize my process.
Talk about a great way to transform your personal productivity!
How Sue the High-Tech Pro Added The Fun Factor
Sue, a high-tech professional, was overwhelmed with her demanding and monotonous job.
To tackle this, she decided to inject The Fun Factor into her routine.
She started by gamifying her most tedious tasks; for each task completed, she earned points, which she later converted into small rewards, like a coffee break or a short walk.
On Fridays, she introduced “Fun Fridays” where she’d work on creative aspects of her projects, allowing her to explore and innovate.
She also began team lunch quizzes to make team interactions more enjoyable.
Slowly, Sue found her workdays becoming less overwhelming and more enjoyable, proving that a little fun can transform even the most daunting tasks.
How Max the Graphic Designer Added The Fun Factor
Overwhelmed by tight deadlines, Max started theming his workdays – “Minimalist Monday” for simplistic designs, “Wild Card Wednesday” for experimental concepts, and so on.
This not only brought an element of surprise and creativity to his routine but also helped him look forward to each day with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement.
How Emma the Project Manager Added The Fun Factor
Emma turned her weekly meetings into a fun, competitive quiz session where each team member presented their updates in a creative way.
The best presentation won a virtual trophy.
This approach not only lightened the mood but also encouraged her team to be more engaged and communicative.
This transformed the usual monotony of meetings into a highly anticipated event.
The Fun Factor is a Personal Thing
The Fun Factor in productivity is deeply personal.
What you find enjoyable, another might not.
This subjectivity means that it’s important that you discover what specifically makes your work more enjoyable.
Learning from others about what brings them joy in their work can provide you with new perspectives and ideas.
However, it’s crucial to remember that everyone’s sources of fun and engagement are unique, and what works for one person might not work for another.
This personalization aspect is key to effectively integrating The Fun Factor into your workflow.
From “We’re Going to Make It Through This” to “We’re Going to Enjoy Our Way Through This”
The shift from “We’re Going to Make It Through This” to “We’re Going to Enjoy Our Way Through This” represents a change from a mindset of endurance to one of enjoyment.
Instead of just trying to survive a challenge, it’s about finding your pleasure and positivity in your journey.
For example, a team facing a tough project deadline might initially focus solely on meeting the deadline (making it through).
However, they could shift their approach to include elements that make the process enjoyable.
To do this, they might do things like celebrate small milestones or incorporate creative brainstorming sessions.
This simple shift would transform the experience into something more enjoyable (enjoying their way through it).
How To Practice Adding Your Fun Factor
Find Your Fun Factor Today!
To help find your personal Fun Factor, consider these questions:
- What activities make you lose track of time? Reflect on tasks or hobbies that fully engage you.
- What aspects of your work have made you smile recently? Identify moments of joy in your current routine.
- What’s something new you’ve wanted to try in your work process? Consider any creative methods or tools you’ve been curious about.
- How do you like to celebrate achievements? Think about rewarding aspects that make accomplishments feel special.
- Who inspires you with their work approach? Look for colleagues or people whose work style you admire and find enjoyable.
These questions help you uncover your personal preferences and experiences that bring you enjoyment and help you integrate The Fun Factor into your work and life.