Change Your Routine
One of the simplest ways to discover better ways to do things is to change your usual routines. Doing this can often help highlight some new ideas and approaches that can benefit you in all areas of your life. Here are some of the areas to focus on:
Your daily routines
Most of have specific routines throughout the day that we follow and which are probably very good at helping us stay on track and get through everything in the day. Some of these routines may also be dictated by work, family and personal commitments. However, sometimes our routines may lose their effectiveness, there may be better options out there or they can start becoming too tedious to follow. In which case experimenting a little may help uncover a much better approach and freshen your perspective (even if you end up deciding to stick with your old routines). For example, I discovered recently that not turning on my phone as soon as I got up in the morning has made me more efficient and my mornings more relaxed. This is because when I do turn on my phone I’m ready to deal with every email or message instead of previously partially reading everything (to identify the urgent items) and then re-reading and dealing with everything else later (meaning of course that I was double handling them). In some cases too where there was a lot of content and attachments I spent time trying to read them on my phone instead of waiting until I was in front of my laptop. And with the phone on it was incredibly hard not to constantly check it during breakfast, respond to emails as they were coming in or resist the lure of the internet. All of which made my mornings feel rushed, especially when I got caught up reading something and didn’t notice that the time was suddenly racing away.
Think about your morning, day and evening routines and start experimenting with some new approaches to find out if changing them makes a difference (eg: go to bed earlier, do household chores like washing or cleaning on a week night to free up more time on the weekend, choose different things to do on the weekend rather than going to the same places, exercise at a different time in the day or stay a little later (or start a little earlier) at work so that you can avoid bringing work home and spend time with family instead. Once you start looking at your usual routines you’ll probably realise there’s lots of different ways you could do things that may work out better for you.
Your work routines
We all have specific ways we like to work but sometimes (for a number of reasons) they may stop working so well. And when this happens it may be time to change them or at least freshen them up a little. For example, there are lots of different tools and software available now for business (and we all have our favourites) but sometimes (if you have the option to change the tools you use at work) it’s worthwhile trying a new app or piece of software to help you complete tasks more efficiently or discover a new useful feature you didn’t realise was an option. Or maybe it’s time to go back to the old fashioned way of doing things and revert to tools like a paper diary, a notebook or a simple spreadsheet. Have a look at what others are using or simply investigate the options yourself and start testing them. You don’t need to commit to something if it doesn’t work for you but it’s still worthwhile experimenting with new options periodically just in case there’s something better out there (and don’t forget to review the tools you use in your personal life too).
The times of the day when you’re most productive can also change sometimes or maybe you’ve never really discovered what these are. For example, I used to find that working late at night (probably as a result of years spent studying at university) was the best time for me to concentrate and get through a lot of work, however, a couple of years ago I began struggling to stay focused at this time so I started experimenting. Initially I tried earlier in the evening around 6pm and whilst that worked for a little while I was soon back to the same situation. So I experimented with some other times and I now find that between 8am and 11.30am seems to be the best times for me to work solidly on tasks like writing my blog. Have a think about how and when you work – is it time for you to experiment a little?
Your personal routines
We all have our favourite places to eat, shop, visit etc and yet this also locks us into the same types of experiences which can limit our opportunities to discover something new that may be beneficial. For example, in the past year I have made it a regular practice on the weekends to try out a new cafe, shopping location, park, art gallery etc. Sometimes I enjoy the experience and discover a new favourite place and other times I decide it doesn’t suit me. However, it’s still been something new to explore, it’s an enjoyable thing to plan for each weekend and I’ve often discovered new businesses in the surrounding area that I’ve been able to share with others (or use myself). If you take the time to journey outside your normal patterns of behaviour it’s amazing what you can discover. Have a think about what you do and where you go regularly and consider going somewhere completely different.
Your friends and contacts
Over the years we get to know certain groups of people via our personal and work connections and it’s wonderful to have these people in our lives. However, it can also be easy to stay in these groups and miss meeting someone new who could become a valuable new connection or friend. Sign up to a local group you’ve never been part of before, say yes to an invite where you don’t know anyone or even ask your friends to introduce you to some of their contacts. After all think about the great friends and contacts you already have – at one stage in your life you met them for the first time too and look at how much you’ve gained as a result.
Changing your usual routines and testing some new ideas and approaches can help you to discover better ways to do things and make life interesting too. So take the opportunity today to start shaking up your routines up a little – you might actually be very surprised by what you discover!
Photo credit: iStock.com/jackaldu