When you can't solve life's big problems, solve the small ones. Here are 10 everyday experiences that are no fun, and how to make them a bit more enjoyable.
10. Make the Most of Your Long Commute
Driving to work can seem like hours stolen from your life, every single day. But it doesn't have to be all bad. Make it a bit more productive and fun with some audiobooks or brain-boosting podcasts. Sit up straight and do some "desk exercises" to keep yourself from getting cramped. Practise a little mindfulness. And, most importantly, test different routes to keep things interesting (and find the fastest way there).
9. Turn Boring Small Talk Into A Real Conversation
Nobody likes small talk -- it's boring, awkward, and plays out the same way every time. "Nice weather we're having...what do you do for a living? Oh, verrrry interesting..." But it's not hard to take that small talk and turn it into a real conversation. For example, when someone asks you how you're doing, respond with a small detail instead of just "good". Arm yourself with relevant topics for the event or situation at hand. And, when in doubt, fall back on the FORD technique: Ask them questions about their family, occupation, recreation, and dreams. Chances are, you'll find something you have in common.
8. Use Your Travel Time Productively
Visiting a new place can be awesome, but getting there is not usually part of the fun. Between airports, planes, long car rides and other travel annoyances, getting there can be quite a hassle -- even when nothing goes wrong. With the right plan, though, you can actually have a fun time at the airport -- especially if you get there early. And when it comes to long plane and car rides, you have the old standbys -- a book, a movie, or some music -- but you can make it go by a lot faster by being productive. Use that time to practise a new skill, like learning a new language or doing some writing. Before you know it, you'll be at your destination, and you won't feel like you've lost a whole day of your life.
7. Feel Accomplished In Your Finances
Money is a big source of stress in most of our lives, but if you can master the mental game of sticking to a good budget, things get a little easier -- and more fun, since you'll feel very accomplished. That means regularly checking in with your spending to see how you're doing. It sounds like spreading out the pain, but if you schedule yourself a little financial date night, it can be enjoyable -- especially if you make sure to budget for your "wants", too.
6. Deal With Telemarketers And Spam Hassle-Free
OK, this isn't an experience you can actually "make more enjoyable" (unless you want to employ the techniques in the video above), but you can certainly make it suck a little less. It's actually very simple to get rid of a telemarketer: just say "put me on your do not call list" Do not hang up immediately, do not engage them, just say those simple words. If you hang up, they will likely call you back. If email spam is your problem, we have a whole guide to dealing with that, too.
5. Wake Up Pleasantly Instead Of Angrily
Step aside, nails-on-a-chalkboard. The sound of an alarm buzzer in the morning is the most punishing auditory experience. No matter how much of a morning person you are, waking up early is never fun, but there are a lot of things you can do to make it a more pleasant experience. Ditch the alarm clock and wake up pleasantly with a light that mimics the sun -- either one you buy or build yourself. It also helps to time your sleep properly so your body's ready at the right time. Top it off with a morning ritual you look forward to and you have the recipe for lovely wake-up calls.
4. Make Your Workouts Fun
Working out is supposed to be uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable. Combine it with something you love, like reading, or compete with your friends for some extra motivation. Switch around the routine every once in a while to keep it interesting, or gamify it with apps like Zombies, Run. And, of course, let's not forget the old standby: sports make a great workout, so gather some friends for a game when things are feeling stale.
3. Automate And Enjoy Your Chores
Whether it's cooking, cleaning or laundry, we all have those chores we hate doing. Creating a schedule can help you automate and stay on tass, but working in short bursts makes it far less tedious. Most importantly, though: cap off any chore session with something that produces clear results. It will make you feel better about the work you put in, and you might just enjoy it.
2. Make Long Waits Seem Shorter
No one likes sitting around and waiting -- whether it's in line at the supermarket or the bus stop. We really hate waiting when we're unoccupied. So, while choosing the shortest line is step one, the real solution is keeping your brain busy. Play the noticing game to get through that wait and take in your surroundings. That line will move quicker than you think.
1. Make It Through A Dull Work Day
Even if you love what you do -- and that's a big "if" -- some days at work are just downright crappy. If your job truly sucks, it's going to be a tough road, but if you're just trying to kill some boredom at work, it's pretty easy. All done with your work? Become an overachiever and get some bonus points. In a bad mood from your last meeting? Do something creative to get yourself motivated again. And if you're just trudging through a boring Friday at work...well, a little Tetris break never killed anyone. (No, seriously.)
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