Posts Tagged ‘Rule #9: Effortful before Effortless’

The rule focused on for Week 9 of the Tranquility by Tuesday challenge was effortful before effortless. The purpose of this rule is to mindfully think about how you spend your leisure time. Laura Vanderkam created this rule to encourage having effortful fun before having effortless fun. In addition, Laura stated in an email to participants of the challenge, “When you do effortful fun before effortless, you’ll get to do both.”

So, what exactly is effortful fun? According to Laura, effortful fun is “fun that requires some planning, coordination, or mindfulness.” Examples of effortful fun are reading, putting together a puzzle, playing board games with friends or family, or scrapbooking.

So, what exactly is effortless fun? Social media and screen time fall into the category of effortless fun.

Anyone who falls down the rabbit hole of spending too much time scrolling on social media, may want to implement Laura’s rule and check out Catherine Price’s book, How To Break Up with Your Phone. I learned about Catherine Price and this book on the Happiness Lab podcast where she was interviewed by Dr. Laurie Santos. Listening to her story and the reason for writing this book inspired me to read it. The book includes Price’s 30-day challenge that can help people develop a new relationship with their phone. It works!

Before the week started, I pondered the planning questions for Rule #9 that Laura sent us on Friday, 17 March and made a plan for the week.

  • What are your favorite sorts of effortful fun – that is, fun that requires some planning, coordination, or mindfulness? Reading, scrapbooking, putting puzzles together, content creation (blog and YouTube channel), hanging out with friends and family (and fur babies), and discussing books are my favorite sorts of effortful fun.
  • What leisure activities do you typically do at night in the hours before bed or during downtime on weekends? Read, watch television, watch YouTube videos (booktubers), edit my own YouTube videos
  • How much time, in minutes, do you estimate you spend on social media on a typical weekday? What about on weekends? When do these minutes happen? Weekdays (about 150 minutes M-F); Weekend (about 60 minutes); mainly happen in the morning or early evening
  • How much time, in minutes, do you estimate you spend on TV or other video entertainment on a typical weekday? How about on weekends? (about 30-60 minutes – YouTube per day); (about 120-240 minutes of television on the weekends); I mainly watch television with my hubby on Friday and Saturday evenings; I also tend to watch YouTube videos while eating breakfast or lunch; and sometimes, I listen to a video while unloading/loading dishes or folding laundry.
  • Today, choose one form of “effortful” fun to do before screen time. What will this be? Reading
  • What challenges might you encounter in doing effortful fun before effortless fun? No challenges; reading is my favorite choice for effortful fun
  • What needs to happen to ensure you spend time on this effortful fun activity first? Always have a book handy and schedule it


Throughout this week, I chose effortful fun before effortless fun. I pretty much have done this rule off and on since I participated in the original time study back in the spring of 2021. I am really proud with how well I did this week with all of the Tranquility by Tuesday rules.


  • Think back over the past week. What sorts of “effortful” fun did you make time for? Reading, content creation, dinner at my mother-in-law’s house, book discussions
  • When did you choose to make time for this effortful fun? I make time to read whenever I can, especially in the morning while drinking my coffee or right before bed; content creation is done throughout the day, sometimes in the evening; dinner at my mother-in-law’s house is on Friday evenings, book discussions in the evenings (evenings vary).
  • What effects did you see in your life from making time for effortful fun? Positive effects; experience more reading; experience more joy
  • What challenges did you face while trying to do effortful fun before effortless fun? After posting a book review on Instagram or something on FB, I sometimes linger and scroll for a few minutes.
  • How did you address these challenges? I did not really address it; limited amount of time scrolling, and I no longer do it right before bed.
  • If you modified this rule, how did you do so? n/a
  • How likely are you to continue to do effortful fun before effortless fun? Very likely; since I have done this rule off and on since I participated in the original time study back in the spring of 2021. I like this rule. Good reminder that time is a limited resource, so choose how you spend it wisely.
  • Did you observe a bedtime this past week? Yes, finally! I got an A++! I was in bed every night by 10:30, except Monday. I stayed up until 10:50, reading The Voyage of the Frog. On five of the seven nights, I read before going to sleep. On Friday night, I wrote a book review, and on Saturday night, Barry and I watched multiple episodes of Wednesday before going to sleep.
  • Plan on Friday? Yes, after dinner on Friday evening
  • Move by 3 p.m.? Yes, walked all four days in my backyard
  • Do your chosen activity three times per week? I read Choose Joy (3-minute devotions) all 7 mornings. I got outside for at least 23 minutes, 2 times this week, for the #Outside23in23 Challenge. On Tuesday, I walked for 10 minutes, then played with dogs in the backyard for 15 minutes. On Wednesday, I walked for 15 minutes earlier in the day, then read for 20 minutes outside later that afternoon.
  • Create a back-up slot? Yes, I had two back-up slots on Saturday morning and Monday evening. I used Saturday morning for chores since I planned on Friday evening; and, Monday evening for helping Claire with a school assignment (we were supposed to meet on Sunday afternoon, but she had to reschedule).
  • Have one big adventure and one little adventure? YES, two of each. My two big adventures were attending Romeo and Juliet and dinner afterwards with my hubby, Andrew, his girlfriend Meagan (precious), and our friend Helen AND attending Andrew’s ceremony and dinner for being inducted into an International Honor Society for Foreign Languages and Literature (accepted for French). For my little adventures, on Saturday morning, my friend Shanna and I took a quick trip to the Friends of the Library store AND on Wednesday night, I attended the Middle Grade March livestream (one hour).
  • Take one night for you? Yes, actually two nights. On Sunday night, Rachel and I discussed chapter 8 of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. On Thursday night, I attended my weekly improv class (Level 4).
  • Batch the little things? Yes! I was much more effective this week. From 10:15am – 12:10pm, I completed financial tasks, placed a coffee order on Big Cat Coffee, did some digital decluttering, and created an email for my mother-in-law to access her MYChart medical information.

Well, that is a wrap on the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge, dear reader. I will eventually share my overall thoughts about the book and the challenge as well as which rules I plan to keep incorporating in my life. It was wonderful to see how Laura Vandrekam turned all of the time study data into Tranquility by Tuesday. I am happy that I was a part of the time study as well as the book. Happiness!

“Leisure time is too precious to be totally leisurely about leisure.” ~ Laura Vanderkam

Note: Photo at the top by Pixabay on Pexels.com.

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