Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mary Poppins Had It Right: A Spoon Full of Sugar & Work

I (Lisa) hadn't intended to clean my office. I was innocently chatting via Skype with Wendy, and it just sort of happened. We were checking in with each other, both feeling fairly low energy, and Wendy mentioned a number of things she had to do. Then this came across my screen:

"There! I just picked up one folder and put it away as I'm done with it - (pattingselfontheback)."

We celebrated with a little emoticon party, then I realized that I, too, could put a folder away. So I did. Then I put away one more! I skyped to Wendy: "I see your folder, and raise you one!"

She countered with seeing my folder and raising me two books and a binder (and expressed jubilation at seeing carpet space!). I put away my camera, camcorder, and a plastic bag that was just laying on my desk.

Before I knew it, we were in an ad hoc online office clean-off. We went back and forth until we each had cleared a sizable space in our offices and had other commitments to attend to. I didn't clean my whole office, and this wasn't on my to-do list (which, these days, is nonexistent anyways). Instead, Wendy and I seized the moment, spurred each other on with our energy and encouragement, and accomplished something in the spirit of play. Something about the spontaneity, the online interaction, and having someone with whom to share the experience made this activity not just fun but memorable.

For those of us who live on Planet Chaos, play is powerful. We don't respond well to structure, have-to's, to-do lists. Instead, if we can create a spark when we do a task, even something mundane, we can make things happen and feel joy as we do.

When both Wendy and I had to leave, I hopped onto and dedicated this song to Wendy:–Mary+poppins. It seemed the fitting way to complete our experience. Enjoy, and maybe you'll get something done too!


  1. Love this - and oh! I think I see some other Disney movies playing in the birds helping Cinderella! What a fun thing to do and I totally get it had to be in the moment. A regularly scheduled Friday clean up party, for example, would soon become tedious. Planet Chaos ROCKS

  2. Thank you, Leslie, for your encouragement. Just beginning is often the key to diving in to productive play. Let us know how it goes!

    Thanks to you too, Kathy, for your inspiration! I'm sure we could invoke many Disney characters. You also named that the spontaneity is a huge piece of this kind of event. That said, I'll be looking for more opportunities such as this--perhaps we'll connect productively and creatively and, er, fun-ly via Twitter next?

  3. I've been noticing how the word and concept of "play" is a "trigger" for me to engage with activities on a more creative and fun level. I've been more aware of my triggers that lead to worry, etc. but am excited about this cool trigger that makes life much more enjoyable.

    So, I de-floorganized today since I had a coaching client into my office and now I've re-floorganized to pack for my trip tomorrow to Seattle.'s a thought, how could I "play" as I pack?

  4. I think interactive chores are much more enjoyable than doing things by oneself...Lisa, where are you? I saw your comments on Twitter earlier about did that go?

  5. It went pretty well, Wendy--thanks for asking! It was fun to tweet about cleaning and having other people encourage me either outright or via some creative means (eg. @NickDevious said he'd tell on me if I watched the Olympics instead of cleaning!). I think we're really onto something here. Kathy and I have talked about having a cleaning spree via Twitter, and just think of all the networking sites we could use to help make organizing and cleaning fun!

  6. This strikes a particularly strong chord with me as I too live on Planet Chaos, prefer to play than clean and currently have a toddler obsessed with Mary Poppins. Thank you for tying them all together for me!

  7. How fun, Wholeselfcoach! Glad we could be of service and that some connections were made. Now if we could only harness the energy of toddlers as adults so we could have more fun while being productive...