The Benefits of Taking a Break from Routine

Routine works for me. I’m always more productive when I can stick to some semblance of a routine.

My husband is much more routine oriented than I am. He has a breakfast routine that dictates what he eats based on the day of the week. Every Monday he has the same thing, every Tuesday something else, and so on. It works for him and gives his mornings a sense of order.

I’m lucky if I remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.

Anyway, as most of you know, I spend the majority of the summer in Maine. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to experience a change in scenery for a few weeks, and for the change in routine that comes along with it.

While I’m away from home, I find I focus on different priorities. I tend to get more exercise. I have been known to socialize more. But most importantly, I welcome the opportunity to clear my head and take time to stop and appreciate the ocean-infused surroundings.

ocean

Before I left for Maine in June, I created a To-Do list of business and personal activities I wanted to accomplish while I was away. I’m prepared to admit today, that I didn’t complete any of them! I started a few items on the list, but as of now, have not completed a single one.

And I realize, that it’s ok. And that’s quite a realization coming from an organizer. It was difficult, but I got there.

Changes in routine influence productivity in many ways. This is what I recognized this summer:

First – allowing myself to regroup once a year is a good thing. Especially this year when my word-of-the-year is “Clarity.” I spent some time clarifying the next steps I want to take in my business (more details to come soon in an upcoming e-Newsletter) even though I didn’t take any of those steps while I was away.

saying4web

Second – recognizing that giving myself a break from routine is also a good thing, and not beating myself up for not checking everything off on my daily To-Do list, like I try to do the rest of the year.

Finally – one thing I did accomplish this summer was to set some goals for what I wanted my routine to look like when I returned home. Here are a few things I have decided to carry over from the summer and incorporate into most days:

  • Continue with my morning walks
  • Fit in more opportunities to educate myself through podcasts and other online vehicles
  • Continue to chip away at that pre-summer To-Do list a little bit each week
  • Jump start my day by tackling the least favorite task on my To-Do list each day, first
  • Set a timer for each task to help me focus on that one task for a set amount of time

I’ve been back home for a couple of weeks and I already recognize that my “new” routine is helping me be more productive. It’s comforting at the end of the day to feel I’ve accomplished so much more.

When my daughters were home, I remember welcoming the end of summer’s lack of routine, and looking forward to getting back into the school year routine. I’m wondering, do you feel the same way? Or do you head into the fall kicking and screaming?

I’m also wondering…

What did you have for breakfast yesterday?

Do you embrace changes in routine throughout the year?

What benefits do you experience with changing things up once in a while?

Please share in the comments below.

4 comments to The Benefits of Taking a Break from Routine

  • LJ Anderson

    Great topic, Diana!
    I have the same smoothie (berries, sunflower seeds, spinach, wheat bran, Bulgarian yogurt) in my Vitamix every morning and two organic scrambled eggs. I look forward to it the night before!
    Two years ago I moved to a house that was much less convenient than my townhouse had been. Now it’s a drive to get to stores, etc., and that has meant that I need to organize errands. I am still struggling with that!
    I had read a book on the value of microhabits (The Sweet Spot by Christine Carter) and I’m in the process of putting together a daily list of my microhabits so I don’t have to think as much about what I do. And I recently consolidated my travel packing lists to get more efficient at that (takes me forever to pack!) So I really like the idea of checklists. I was also the single parent of three now grown kids and wish that I had known the value of checklists earlier in my life. It would have saved me a lot of angst.
    Thanks for your post!

  • LJ – I am not familiar with that book “The Sweet Spot” – I will look into it. I’m glad to hear that checklists work for you – I know they have always worked for me.

  • Kathy Boissy

    I do remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, although it varies everyday. A cup of coffee is the most important part of my morning. I have to follow a routine in order to accomplish everything I need to before going out the door to work. (I move pretty slowly at that time of the day)

    I do look forward to summer, and my time spent in the Adirondacks, to change up my routine. Basically, to slow down. Come fall, though, I find it reassuring to get back to my routine of the other 9 months of the year.

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