Speaking of daily routines.
I have tendency to leave things at home in the morning when I don’t follow a set routine. Things like my cell phone, lunch, or security badge. One day I even forgot my wallet. Sheesh! This often happens to me when I’m rushing to get out of the house or place things in a different location in the house. For example this morning I left my phone at home because it was on my night stand from last night. I normally leave the phone in my office.
But the thing is I don’t like set routines. I like to vary my sequences to add a different dynamic. That’s probably why the movie Groundhog Day annoyed me when I first saw it. I like variety in my daily activities so that I feel like I’m doing something new. Maybe I vary my morning ritual subconsciously to feel better even though I hate when I get to work missing something.
Business thrives on routines but allows disruption.
The there’s the business world which thrives on predictability and routines. We don’t like surprises in business. We want to know that we’ll produce the same output each time we follow the steps. Employees are expected to follow routines and processes to get good marks on their reviews and to keep their boss happy.
Yet disruption happens. Plan a day when and see how often the unexpected happens to change those plans. Work is a collection of collisions as people with different priorities and to-do lists try to get the attention of each other for help and service. It can lead to chaos!
Does routine hinder creativity?
Todd Henry argues that rituals unleash creativity and “provide solid ground when facing the uncertainty of your daily work”. He goes on to say that good rituals and routines help to forge healthy habits and achieve a flow to our day.
I agree with this thought. Some routines and rituals are healthy and have good consequences. Things like staying out of debt and good dietary habits. I make intentional decisions through my week that are part of a routine that I think help me to think and create. One of those is writing on Saturday morning. I’ve hit a rhythm in life to use Saturday mornings as a think-and-write time. While it’s a routine in my schedule, the output of the routine isn’t the same. I don’t always feel creative when I write, but my hope is that this routine time leads to creativity and new thoughts.
When routine isn’t routine.
So as I think about it, I like to follow routines that make life not so routine. It’s a paradox of sorts. Use routines to find new things and creativity. Use routines to make yourself better. Maybe I’ll use this to remember to take my cell phone to work next week.