Routine is a poison. Just remember when you were a teenager, how much you hated it. Routine is boring, it kills your creativity, locks you in automatic behaviors. Before you even realize, your whole day is structured around rules and timed activities. Your life becomes so predictable and your mind lazy, sleepy. This is bad routine.
Now with all things, there is of course a good side. Let’s be grateful to our parents and under-valued teachers who forced us into daily discipline and habits without fighting our groans, our moans and silently smiled at our dramatic rebellious gestures of “nobody understands me”.
Well, I still profoundly dislike routine and as soon as I realize that I am doing something, anything, in an auto-pilot mode, a deep sense of anger bursts out. Do not laugh - I still often have to think before brushing my teeth that this is a free choice, good for my health, to avoid an outburst of inner anti-routine drama.
Actually, overtime, I have come to really enjoy the simplicity of routine and its discipline. For example, I know that waking up and going to bed early, eating at fixed times, practicing meditation daily – all routine activities - are really beneficial. Still, it does make me more relaxed to know that President Obama himself structurally routinizes every activity that doesn’t require his full (stately) attention so that he can keep all his decision-making ability on the important things.
Now, for most of us, it is not routine that we lack but a good dose of daily creativity and alertness.
So here are 5 simple actions you can take to feed your inner child and free yourself from the auto-pilot mode:
1) In the morning, change the route you take to work or wherever you go daily. A little detour will unwire your mind. Observe what you see on the way, pay attention to what your eyes normally skip.
2) Get relaxed about time. It’s relative anyway. Include in your over scheduled busy agenda a free flow activity.
3) If your working desk is a mess, tidy it up every day for a week. If it is always impeccable, mess it up – leave some post-its, pens and unnecessary objects. You will feel uncomfortable. Appreciate this.
4) Talk to strangers, at work, in the train, in the street. Wherever. Just do it.
5) If there is a place you usually sit at the dinner table, change it. You’ll see your home from a new angle. If you are left-handed, eat with your right hand and vice-versa.
The mind is over-mapped. Even when you think you are the freest being in the world, you will be surprised to spot the millions and millions of automated behaviors you have – most thought upon by generations of unquestioned rules. Just start un-wiring and you will notice for yourself.
Imagine how powerful and tolerant our world would be if we just simply realized this? Then we would actually see it’s not about the routine but the freshness of our look to everything.