Jumping the Rut of the Routine


Routines provide order to our lives.  They’re steps we follow regularly like how and when you get up and go to work.  Like, where and when you take your coffee.  Routines are comfortable precisely for the order they bring.  But, routines can also turn into ruts.

A rut is a routine that has become so deeply ingrained in our daily lives, it begins to hem you in.  It can blind you to opportunities and make you lazy…in the sense that to make a change to get out of the rut takes too much effort.  It’s easier to stay in the rut.

But at what cost?

Time passes so quickly it ceases being funny.  The passage of time before 30 yrs of age when your whole life lies ahead of you seems to pass much slower than those years after 30.  The age is arbitrary, the trigger seems to be establishment of a regular routine.  Before you know it your approaching 60 years of age and you wonder where the time went.

In school, routine seems somehow temporary.  At some point you’ll graduate and move on to the work world. You can see an end to the current routine.  Once in the work world, you may still have those moving on stages, like a sought after promotion, and the like, but your routine becomes more permanently defined—both professionally and personally. Even the hectic schedule of getting our kid’s from one activity to another is a routine.

When the routine doesn’t provide you with joy or you grow weary of it, the routine has become a rut.

The only way out is to actually change things up.

You need to decide you want something different.  This doesn’t need to be, though it very well could be, a career change.  It can simply mean adding a hobby, taking a course, learning a language, travel…you get the idea.  Even wearing different clothes, more colorful, more updated can work wonders.  You may still be in a routine but somehow you feel different with this very small change.

In a rut, you are guided by the boundaries of repetition.  When you break up the repetition, you begin to see “over the walls” of the rut you’ve been in.  This provides you with a new horizon to look towards.  The adventure has begun and you will receive new energy.

I’ve always been a doodler.  For some reason, I love drawing arrows.  Arrows with a 3-d look to the arrowhead, like this image.   doodle to break routineAny paper near me while I’m at my desk is very likely to have at least one arrow on it.  Doodling is a temporary escape from my routine.  I find myself working on the shading to make the arrowhead’s depth more 3-dimensional.  This small creative outlet, breaks up my routine and allows my head to clear.

What are your favorite ways to break up your routine?

Recognize your rut, decide to leave it, and allow yourself to escape.  Your energy will improve and your time will be more enjoyable.