Moodling: How to turn work into play

Fiona writes: Fingers crossed (we still haven’t quite exchanged), we will be moving house early next week.

You can imagine the state of our current house. 
I’m sitting in the conservatory on a fold-up chair. There’s no room for our conservatory furniture in the new house and so we’ve passed it on to friends, as we have a sofa, three lamps, a futon… 
There are just four packing boxes in here so far, and a half-full bin bag, and some cleaning materials, and a tray of baby beetroot plants waiting for their new bed. 
Sorting through a lifetime of accumulated belongings and imagining a new life in a new place is always interesting. I do feel like a sea snail, half-way out of my old shell, not yet into the next, and vulnerable as hell.
But I wasn’t going to write about that today. I was going to write about how much I hate cleaning, and how huge a task it has been to sort through all this stuff, and how moodling has come to my rescue.
According to the marvellous Brenda Ueland (who invented the term), moodling is a vital pre-requisite to creativity. It involves ‘long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.’

I think most of our daily tasks can be achieved if we moodle our way through them.

I can look at a room full of things-to-be-packed and think, ‘arghghh! this will take me six weeks!’

Or I can approach a corner side-long, see a shoe-box full of tax returns, and think ‘that will fit nicely into the bottom of a medium box. I’ll make up one box and then put it in and then see what else fits.’

Before you know it, a box has been filled and you follow your nose to the next task, which is cleaning the kitchen cupboards. Not just one cupboard at a time but one corner of a shelf at a time. Enjoying the lemony smell of cleaning fluid as you go, and taking satisfaction in rubbing away the sticky spots of old jam.

Moodle moodle moodle. Just saying the word conjures the spirit of moodling. 

I did have a melt-down yesterday, over choosing the right size of packing boxes in Argos. I was not at my best. Poor Kaspa. It was my psyche’s excuse to let all the tension of the previous weeks out in one luxurious bout of weeping & gnashing of teeth.

I felt much better afterwards. Turning work into moodling doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with our stuff, or that we’re not human beings any more, or that we don’t have to sometimes take ourselves gently yet firmly by the hand and do things we don’t want to do. 

But approaching overwhelming tasks from an attitude of moodling does help.

Chop wood, carry water. Fill another packing box, scrub the conservatory floor.

Moodle moodle moodle.

If you’d like to improve your moodling skills, we’re running a new course this August to fit nicely with any holiday plans you might already have. Summer Moodle. It even sounds delicious, doesn’t it? If you’d like to take advantage of the earlybird offer (places will be limited) treat yourself now.


‘Sky’ by Amanda Oaks with gratitude.
Comments & replies

7 thoughts on “Moodling: How to turn work into play

  1. Lacey Wright

    I love this concept of moodling! That’s almost exactly how I approach most of my creative projects – a slow, crawling start that gradually picks up pace until I’m happily puttering along. ^_^

  2. ketik06

    Thanks for this Fiona. It reminded me of how useful moodling can be and where I can do more of it (housework). It also made me think of some “negative moodling” that I tend to do: how watching on tv show can lead to several hours or one website/blog post/tweet leads to millions. I want to step up moodling while also being aware of when I moodle to procrastinate instead of for its true, awesome purpose.

  3. Fiona Robyn

    Yes, a fine line between ‘productive’ and ‘non-productive’ moodling, although maybe that’s not the best way to put it…
    Lacey – glad you recognise the state of moodle 🙂

  4. Leslie Waugh

    I can *so* relate the meltdown! Just ask my husband … Moving can be exciting and stimulating but also stressful in ways you don’t expect and at times you don’t expect. Hang in there, though, and good luck. Moodle through it. 😉 And thanks for all you do.

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