When’s the last time you did something “just for fun”?

Something that had nothing to do with work, working out, advancing your career, making connections, or fulfilling obligations? Something that was really and truly for your own pleasure and enjoyment?

As life gets busier, with more time consumed with working from home (in addition to working at the office) and with browsing the web and checking out our friends’ activities on social media that element of ‘fun for fun’s sake’ is becoming more and more of a rare commodity. But, as rare as it’s becoming, having fun, sharing experiences and making social connections is more important than ever before.

In fact, Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, a Japanese doctor who studied longevity (and live to the ripe old age of 105) said that having fun is one of the main components of a long and happy life. And, of course, we already know that laughter is some of the best medicine of all time, so why not turn the tables on the traditional American work ethic and make fun a true priority?

It makes sense to me, but how to do this? I like to think of myself as a fun person, but the truth is, I probably only have real, memorable fun once or twice a week. Not bad, maybe, but I’m sure there is room for improvement there! I honestly think that, for those of us with busy schedules, the best way is simply to put fun right there, on the calendar. This may sound kind of weird, but I know that for me, if it’s not on the calendar it’s probably not going to happen.

And so, in an effort to incorporate more laughter and pleasure in my day-to-day life, I’m working on scheduling in one fun activity every day. According to my self-imposed rules the fun thing should be done for fun’s sake alone, even if it has other benefits (going for a walk can go on my list, but not if the primary purpose is to burn calories). And, although I do like doing things on my own, I also feel that it’s important to build friend time into the fun plan. ¬†And ice cream. What could be more fun than ice cream? And ice cream with a good friend is even better, so I know just what’s going onto my schedule this coming week. And some live music, That’s fun too.

What are your ideas for some good fun activities? Drop them in the comments below (and get them on your calendar). Let’s spread some joy and leave the world – and ourselves – just a little happier in the process.