5 Ways To Shake Up Your Work Routine

Whether you run your own company, freelance from home, or report every day to an office, you're likely to settle into some form of comfortable work routine. There's nothing wrong with that — planning your to-dos and coming up with a steady rhythm for your workday allows you to get your tasks done efficiently without too much thought. However, there are unexpected benefits to shaking up those routines and rituals, even if they're working perfectly fine for you. Studies show that — in both major and minor ways — can boost your creative thinking, increase concentration, and even rearrange the pathways in your brain. Even if there haven't been any complaints about your work, you owe it to yourself to constantly stretch yourself and look for ways to keep your job interesting.

We teamed up with Microsoft Surface to pinpoint ways to challenge the way you've always done things at work. Change is sometimes scary, but unless you shake up your old methods, you may never adopt the new technology that completely revolutionizes your day-to-day workflow, discover that optimal route to work, or expand your arsenal of keyboard shortcuts (no joke, CTRL+T will change your life!). Here are some tips and hacks to give a much-needed jolt to your routines.

1. Switch Up Your Daily Rituals

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It's not just about making your everyday routines more efficient — although that's a worthwhile goal. Contrary to conventional wisdom, change for the sake of change can be beneficial too. For instance, switching up one small thing about your morning routine, like taking the scenic route to the office or doing yoga in your living room when you wake up, can jolt you out of the drudgery of everyday habits and force you to be mindful about what you're doing.

Lunch is another time to introduce a bit of novelty. Step away from the sad desk salad and venture out of the office to discover a new food truck or bring something healthy and delicious from home. This all seems minor, but it's surprising how energizing a few alterations to your daily patterns can be.

2. Expand Your Peer Network

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We all know the concept of a "work wife" or "work husband" — the office bestie you talk to so often that you feel like you spend more time with them than you would a romantic partner. That relationship is valuable, but we often fall into a rut with a work spouse, discussing the same topics and airing the same gripes and gossip. Branch out by making the effort to talk to co-workers you may not have as much in common with, like people in other departments or people who are much older or younger than you. Say yes to the drinks another team invites you to. They may surprise you with fresh perspectives on how things are done at your company and share some unexpected trade secrets.

If you work from home, it's just as important to take the initiative to form a peer network, even if you primarily communicate via email or social media. If there's no office water cooler, create a metaphorical one online!

3. Revamp Your Work Space

Joshua Pestka

As much as you're able, tailor your work space to your personal needs to enhance comfort, focus, inspiration, and productivity. If you don't like sitting all day, ask for a standing desk — or if you have your best ideas while walking and your employer allows it, a treadmill desk. Of course, the most vital component of your work space is likely your computer. Upgrade to a device that comes with the features that will best help you do your job.

4. Reassess Meetings That May Be Wasting Your Time

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At their best, meetings are a productive way to share ideas and collaborate on projects. But we all have that one recurring meeting — you know the one — in which nothing gets done, a handful of vocal people dominate the conversation, and no one can tell you why you need to be in it... yet you show up out of habit without fail. This may seem like a small inconvenience, but a study shows an estimated each year; they can be a costly interruption to your workflow.

Protect your time like the valuable commodity it is by taking a look at your calendar and assessing which meetings you truly need to be in. Talk to your manager and the meeting leaders to discuss whether you actually need to attend, whether you can just get the notes, or if you can attend only the parts that will add value for you and the other participants.

5. Identify The Task You Dread Most... And Be Proactive About Making It Better

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There's probably one task you have to do at work that you dread above all others. If you're a management consultant, it might be creating presentation slides for client meetings. If you run a design studio, it might be ordering and taking inventory of supplies. There's a chance you can delegate the task, or ask a co-worker who doesn't mind that particular task to swap with you, but if those fixes aren't an option, you can block out time to get that to-do list finished as quickly as possible, and acquire the tools to become better at it (see point #3). There's a chance you hate this task only because you have yet to develop a particular skill.

You don't have to be limited by conventions of how things have always been done — think about how you would work best in an ideal situation, and be proactive about making that a reality.

This article is brought to you with the help of Microsoft Surface.

The brand-new Surface Laptop was released this June, featuring the following:

  • Ultra-thin and light, it fits easily in your bag.
  • Four tone-on-tone color combinations and sleek, elegant design complement your personal style.
  • Enjoy a natural typing and trackpad experience, enhanced by a luxurious Alcantara® fabric-covered keyboard.
  • The power to do what you want with all-day battery life.
  • Experience beautiful images in true-to-life color on the vibrant 13.5” PixelSense™ Display with touchscreen.
  • Invisible immersive Dolby® Audio™ Premium sound that comes directly from the keyboard, with no added bulk or grills.