Have you ever climbed on top of your desk and taken a look at your workspace? Have you ever considered lying on the floor beneath your desk and examining your chair or office ceiling from that angle? Have you ever stood in your own backyard, as far as possible from your home, and stared back at your own house?
We all walk well-worn trails throughout our lives. I certainly do.
Every day, I drive the same route to work. When I go to church on Sunday, I sit in the same seat and, when I visit the movie theater, I sit in the same row every time. I eat the same food for breakfast each morning and tend to grab a snack at the same time every afternoon.
That’s not to say that routine is a bad thing. It can be healthy, comforting, and familiar. Routine can contribute to helping us feel grounded.
Life on Repeat
But, the problematic thing about an unbroken routine is that it can become a breeding ground for apathy and laziness. When you follow the same rituals day after day, week after week, and month after month, your brain and heart can disengage. There’s a danger of floating on autopilot and losing perspective.
Things that once were exciting and gave you the momentum to drive forward, lose meaning over time and become blasé.
Fortunately, you have the power to do something about it! When I find myself floating mindlessly through my day, I consult my list containing ideas on how to get a new perspective on the world around me. I recommend you give it a try, to see if these ideas can shake you up as well!
#1 – Stand on Your Desk
Yes, we already touched on this one, but I actually wasn’t joking about it. Seriously, get up there. It’s not going to break. And, if it does, then it’s a great excuse for you to get a new desk! Though, please be careful and don’t hurt yourself. Seeing your office from a totally different perspective can be inspiring. I often climb down with a new idea.
#2 – Look at a Tree
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a tree, but trees work great for this. You can also examine a flower or sit in the grass and examine a blade. Look closely at all the grains and patterns. Nature is a wonderful mind-clearer that can push you out of the ordinary and lead to breakthroughs.
#3 – Run
At our office, we have a routine-breaker we’ve dubbed the LAL, which stands for the Late Afternoon Loop. The LAL is when, during the afternoon malaise, we step away from our desks and get the blood flowing with a loop or two around the building. Plenty of studies have pointed out the powerful connection between physical activity and creativity.
#4 – Draw Something
Maybe you’re not a great artist. That’s alright! Neither am I. Even my stick people end up looking sorry. Still, consider grabbing a pack of crayons, colored pencils, or markers and doing a little sketching. It’s a great way to clear your mind and look at any work conundrums a little differently.
#5 – Go Talk to Someone
This works especially well if it isn’t someone you speak to on a regular basis. Ask them what they’re working on. Find out what their day looks like, what’s important to them, and maybe even what they do to get out of a rut. Communicating and seeing the world from someone else’s perspective, even for five minutes, can totally change your outlook.
#6 – Sing a Song
Okay, so this one isn’t always possible in every environment, as you run the risk of irritating your team members, but if you’re somewhere with the freedom to do so, a quick, private karaoke session can help you tap into your inner rock star, boost your energy, and tap into your creative juices. Even playing your favorite song when you’re stuck can give you a jolt of energy.
#7 – Rearrange Your Workspace
When your world starts looking the same every single day, that’s a good sign it’s time to rearrange it. Consider moving your desk to a new location or switching up the art on your walls. A coat of paint or an interesting plant can prevent you from becoming too accustomed to, and thus uninspired by, your surroundings.
#8 – Try a New Food
Do you cycle between the same five meals every week? Maybe they’re old favorites that are guaranteed to satisfy. Or, maybe it’s time to try something new. When you start feeling a bit bland, order a lunch item that you’ve never ordered before, even if it sounds kooky or strange. Especially if it sounds kooky or strange! Do you drink a latte every morning? Maybe it’s time to try one of those specialty drinks instead.
#9 – Give Yourself a Field Trip
Do you remember how exciting field trips were when you were a kid? They broke up the routine of the classroom and provided you with new and exciting experiences. Well, adults need field trips, too. When everything starts to blur together, get out of the office, go somewhere new, and try to learn something. Maybe you only have time for a short walk, or maybe you can spare an afternoon to pop into a museum. Either way, you’re certain to see the benefits.
#10 – Read
Reading is one of the best ways to introduce your brain to original ideas and prod it into new patterns of thought. Challenge yourself to read outside the topics and writers that are familiar to you. I find I get extremely motivated when I crack open a new book or make my way through a challenging article.
Don’t allow routine to bog you down and stifle your creativity and joy. Getting a new perspective on the world around you might be the perfect way to jumpstart your next project.
Do you have a brilliant, routine-breaking idea? Send us a picture with the subject line #perspective! We’d love to see it.
Keep Reading: How Great Leaders Implement Plan B
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Author, Speaker, and Change Agent.
Chris leads a dynamic team of passionate change agents who are dedicated to partnering with organizational executives to create cultures that inspire, engage and ignite the best in people. Our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams and align operation practices to delighting the customer and drive breakthrough results.