Left brain, right brain. Half of our thoughts are pushing us to mathematical efficiency, driving for better process and improved ways of doing things. The other half wants to play, to wonder, to color. For many of us, our daily routines are dominated by that first half, the efficiency side of the brain. We find the shortest route to work and never alter it; we have our morning schedule timed to the minute, and the end of the day is the same. Good for us, we’re not wasting time. May I suggest that every now and then you take a vacation from your routine?
If you look back at your life you will notice some big leaps forward, some breakthroughs. They may have come in the form of meeting a person at the right time, or hearing a new concept or reading a unique idea. Those sparks have outsized effects on us. We need to make room for new sparks so that they make their way into our thinking, our imagination.
Try this: change the coffee shop where you stop each morning. Just do it for three weeks. And when you go into the new coffee shop, leave your phone in the car - two minor changes that will leave your mind open to seeing things in a new way. Or if you normally run every morning, try swimming. Or flip breakfast and dinner, make pancakes and eggs for dinner. At work change up your weekly status meeting by using the first 15 minutes to share stories about funny things that happened to you as kids. I’ve practiced this for years when I see myself on autopilot and it always brings a fresh perspective.
It only takes a small amount of schedule change to wake up your mind to the many vibrant and colorful things the world has to offer. When your mind is turned on, it will have such a profound impact on the rest of your daily activities. Your company needs your best thinking, your most creative input, your disruptive ideas.
I have found that simple little changes to my routine have a big impact on my performance. When I drive the same way every morning, my mind naturally goes into efficiency mode; it does not need to be as alert. When I alter that pattern, it requires that I pay attention to seemingly minor details. Throughout the day I then see more things, I hear more things and my creative input is amplified. Give it a try, just for a few weeks. Over time you may even develop the habit of vacationing from the routine.