Time management Monday: Adding variety to routines

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“Groundhogday2005”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Routines are a great way to streamline your tasks. You don’t have to think about what you are supposed to do next, you just do the routine. (Load the dishwasher after dinner, for example, or clear up your desk at the end of your work day). But too many routines can make your days feel, well, routine.

Especially this time of year when we’re slogging through the backslope of winter, it’s easy to feel like that guy in the movie Groundhog Day who wakes up to the exact same day, every day. To combat routine fatigue, you can add variety and try something new.

Research shows that your brain gets tired of the same old experiences all the time, and that new experiences actually cause your brain to develop new neural pathways.

As the famous saying goes, “variety is the spice of life.” Mix things up by adding some variety to your days so they don’t all blend together in one identical blur:

Try new foods: Go to a restaurant you’ve never been to before, or try some new recipes at home. Branch out into a different type of food you’ve never eaten before. You might love it! And even if you don’t love it, at least you’ve tried something new.

Go someplace new: Even if it’s only an hour or two away from where you live, go someplace you’ve never been before. Enjoy planning the trip (anticipation is half the fun), read up on the area, then go and see the sights.

Read something new: Read something completely different from what you normally read. Try some medieval poetry, Greek mythology, modern philosophy, astrophysics, young adult literature, anything. Reading new ideas will stretch your mind and branch out your interests.

Try a new activity: Wake up your body by doing an activity you don’t normally do: dancing, hiking, riding a bike.

Learn a new skill: Study a foreign language, take a pottery class, build shelves.

Any of these things will encourage your brain to build new connections and wake up your interest. But the most important thing is to have fun each day. It’s easy to go through our daily routines and let the days blur by, but make sure to find a way to do something fun and enjoyable every day.

What do you do to add variety to your routines and shake up the winter doldrums?



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