I’m as guilty as anyone. It’s real easy to get into a routine in our daily lives. I work from home and in my case, every work morning is much the same for the first couple of hours. Shaving and washing, pretty much the same breakfast every day, check and answer emails, check RSS feeds…Not much variation in lunch routine. And so on through a routine kind of work day, shopping at the same store, etc. Routines can be detrimental. I guess you know you’re in a routine when you look back on the week and each day melds into the next with no real distinction or memorable events. So how can we get out of this dreadful routine thing and keep things interesting and fresh? I guess with the New Year coming up, this is a great time to start afresh and spice things up a bit, the objective being to make each day, week and year a bit more memorable.
If you’re in a 9 to 5 set up working for someone else, then there may be little you can do in the work day to freshen it up. If work is reduced to a routine, innovative breakthroughs become rare. If your job is real drudgery, consider changing. Think about earning a living online. We really are lucky these days having the option to run our own businesses online. Pluck up the courage and give it a go. Selling, blogging, web design, whatever you feel you’d enjoy doing. You’ll have more flexibility to change your daily routine if you do.
I’m self employed and work from home. I do try and get out for a walk each day to give myself some time away from the PC to think or listen to podcasts. But I’ve been working in publishing for quite a while now and I’m looking to try some new challenge. When I look back on 2010, I can’t see much memorable to distinguish it from the year before (work and leisure time) and that’s a tell-tale sign that I’m stuck in a major rut. For me I’m considering trying something new – or at least expanding into something that I’ve already dabbled it – web design. I’m looking forward to this new challenge although I’m new to this and it may be a challenge too far pretty much from a standing start. Certainly judging by this excellent post on Nettuts+ recently. Still, in your 50s, you do tend to focus on the fact that you may only have say 15 years left to learn and master something new at work.
There’s a bunch of things you can do here to cut the routine and make spare time memorable. It may also make us a little fitter and help the creative juices.
1. Try a new hobby. What about photography, blogging or cookery? If you have a young family, get some photos of them. Have a go at photo editing and see if you enjoy that.
2. Try evening classes to pick up a new skill, e.g. first aid, photography.
3. Get out more. Climb a hill, see a sunset and photograph it. Get out to the movies, the gym, meet up with your friends at the coffee shop or go out for a meal. If you’re out walking, you can listen to podcasts at the same time. You probably won’t create awesome memories sitting at your PC updating your Twitter or Facebook status. Do you neglect your friends in favour of a monitor? Aim to get to the end of 2011 and have some great memories to look back on.
4. If you are staying in in front of the TV in the evening, think how you could change that routine. Streaming the internet to your TV is a great new possibility to make some changes. Swap your radio listening for podcasts. I hate the old fashioned notion of radio forcing listening choices on you. Make your own choices with podcasts. Listen to what you want to hear when you want.
5. Try and get away on a memorable holiday. I know it’s difficult in these times but a holiday really will give you great memories.
6. Here’s another 50 ideas to break a routine life. The old adages ‘you’ll never get today back again’ and ‘you only get one shot at life’ ring true, certainly as you get older. Much better to think in terms of ‘so much to do, so little time’.
What can you do differently tomorrow, next week, or next year to break away from your normal routines and make life more memorable, interesting and fresh? Drop a comment below.