Do you ever find yourself stuck in the same boring routine? Wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, maybe clean your place or go to the grocery store with what little energy you have left at the end of the day. Do you have kids? Forget having any energy left at the end of the day! Routines aren’t all bad, they help us organize our day and use our time efficiently. Routine provides us direction, which allows us to move forward with our days instead of being stuck in indecision. Routine increases efficiency, builds momentum, and allows us to become good at things.
But what happens when we get so stuck in our day-to-day routine that it feels confining? We become bored and unfulfilled. We create a comfort zone that is difficult to escape. What are we missing when we block ourselves from that which is outside our routines? You never know, until you get out and explore.
Routine at Home
I am the worst for this. From the time I wake up I begin counting down the hours left in the day, trying to figure out how I will get everything done. Like most people, I use the majority of my energy during the workday. The hour-long commute home on a crowded interstate adds an extra level of mental exhaustion. When I get home I have just enough energy to accomplish the basics – make dinner, go for a walk, do some writing or pick up the house. Then bed.
Luckily I married someone with far more energy! It never ceases to amaze me that Jimmy can continue to walk through the door at the end of the day, often singing with a smile on his face, and say enthusiastically “Oh helloooo Darling, let’s go for a bike ride!” A bike ride sounds nice of course, but how can I? There is so much to do and so little time! How can I sacrifice a precious 30 minutes in an evening that is already too short? The answer for me is to learn to let it go. You’re singing Frozen in your head now aren’t you? Sorry.
Let the pressure and the expectations go. So what if the floor doesn’t get mopped tonight – break the routine and do something you really enjoy. Or simply redefine the routine – give yourself 30 minutes to do something you enjoy – you’ll feel better for it!
I’m so thankful to have Jimmy interject and force me outside of my routine. The bike ride is far more rewarding and often gives me a second wind. Lately there have been wild horses along the trail where we ride. This is less than half a mile from our house! Half a mile, who knew?!?
Routine on the Road
I used to work in a role that required frequent travel. I enjoyed the travel element, even if it was to places that weren’t always exciting. However, I found myself in need of a routine on the road to prevent exhaustion. It went a little something like this: wake up and prep for the day, client meetings all day, return to the hotel, workout (maybe), eat dinner, more work prep (if needed), t.v., then bed. What was I missing by being cooped up in my room? A lot.
I was fortunate enough to stay at the Green Valley Ranch Hotel while working with a client near Las Vegas. The facilities were amazing and we even received room upgrades from time-to-time. Like pool table, full bar, and 12 person dining room table in the room type upgrades. Check out the video below of me being my nerdy self and giving a quick 60 second tour of my Suite.
However, I was so caught up in my own head that I missed the little things around me that gave me amusement. I stayed at this place for months before realizing they had a vineyard on site. A vineyard – with little baby grapes growing at a resort casino. I must have passed it at least 10 times on my way to the gym on previous trips, but I never lifted my gaze. Once I became aware, I made of a point of walking through the rows of grapes whenever I stayed there; it was such a treat to find in an unexpected place.
It wasn’t always so glamorous though – I also found myself at the Best Western in a rural California town with not much to do. My closest dinner options were Chile’s and Wendy’s. I used to walk across the parking lot to Kohl’s in the evening just to pass the time. Why did I relegate myself to this town? – I had a rental car and usually some free time in the evenings. One day I decided to break the routine and drive north to Lake Oroville. Despite the drought, the lake was impressive. The view of the water was soothing and there were trails to explore. I even crossed paths with a fox at one point. All I had to do was break the routine – direct the car somewhere else than the hotel.
Do you find yourself longing for more than your simple routine? It’s a simple lesson learned. Break the routine every once in a while, or build another. Get out and explore! You don’t even have to go far.