Thanks to this year’s unusually disruptive winter weather, we’ve probably all experienced a few days in which our daily routines have been disrupted, as well. If you’re like me, your first reaction to these disruptions is probably negative. This year, however, I decided to rise above that negativity and turn each disruption into an opportunity.
When my first “snow day” of the year appeared, I decided to take the upper hand and proactively change my daily routine. Instead of heading out to my local Starbucks for coffee first thing, I decided to stay off the icy roads and enjoy a cup of tea at home. And, rather than quickly jumping online, I sat at my kitchen table and began mentally mapping out my workday. This led to my grabbing a sketch pad and marker and drawing a “mind map” to help me think through a new client project.
It had been awhile since I had begun a new project offline. With all of our digital tools so close at hand, it can be easy to forget the power of even a crude hand sketch to sort out a process. I ended up sharing my sketches with my client and I think that helped him better visualize our process, as well.
On another snow day, when all of my meetings were cancelled or rescheduled, I decided to flip my routine. Instead of saving my work-related reading for late in the evening, I began that morning with a reading session. Not only were my eyes fresher, but I was also able to apply several fresh, new ideas to my design work immediately that morning. This new routine made me wonder how many fresh, new ideas I “sleep on” and promptly forget following a late night reading session.
These little changes in the workday routine pointed out how valuable it can be to change things up more often. Rather than arbitrarily sticking to a set routine five days a week, we should allow disruption in more often. It just may boost our creative capacity and help us come at a problem from a new perspective.
What do you think?
by Rebecca Cochran
I think you are right on target. Routines can be good as they do help to structure our time and provide a framework for getting through the work that is on our plates. However, you pointed out the downside in the post which is that those same routines can also dull our creativity. The simple act of changing your work location, driving a different route or just re-ordering your day can generate new thoughts and ideas.
We should all try to incorporate something new or different into our work week in order to jumpstart our creativity or even our focus. This mental ‘change-up’ might be all we need to gain that new perspective, insight or ephiphany that will lead to break-through results.