Routine is the enemy of creativity.
Now, somewhere someone is arguing with that idea, saying that routine can enhance creativity. Routines can allow our brain to go on autopilot for the unimportant.
Sure, there is likely truth in that.
But, I think that occasional, even small changes can fire up our brain’s neurons and create new connections. We travel the same paths so often that we often miss the changes occurring on the route.
- My alarm goes off, and I follow the same pattern I have for years.
- I drive the same route to work.
- I follow a routine when I arrive at work.
- Each meeting follows a pre-set agenda and most are held in a conference room.
- I rush from task to task with little time left.
- The day ends, I head to the gym and start my routine workout.
- I rush home in time for dinner and helping with homework.
- I drive home and the evening is much the same as the one before.
- I watch the news and read a book.
- The alarm goes off, and I reverse my pattern. I get up fifteen minutes early, and go outside first. My thoughts are not about the daily “to do” list but instead focused on the nearby tree or the birds.
- On the drive to work, I deliberately take a detour and pay attention to new landmarks.
- Even if the variation is slight, I consciously switch the pattern. I delay answering email and instead take ten minutes to walk around the office greeting people.
- Each meeting follows a logical plan, but we all take a few minutes to brainstorm alternative ideas. One meeting is moved outside and another is moved to a local coffee shop.
- White space is deliberately on my calendar. I take time to breathe and consider the larger implications of today on my business.
- The day ends, I drive to the gym where I use machines that I have ignored or take part in a class that I’ve never tried.
- I stop and buy roses for my wife, and surprise her with an unplanned date.
- The news is too often depressing, so instead I read one of my favorite inspirational authors aloud to my family. We discuss it and talk about ways we can help others.
- When I’m tired, I sit down and write knowing that studies show sleepiness can enhance creativity.
We are all creatures of habit, and that can be beneficial. But, occasionally, break your routines and see if your creativity flows.