7 Ways To Switch Up Your Daily Routine
Routines can be comforting. It's always nice to know you have something you enjoy to look forward to, whether it's your familiar walk to work, your daily cup of coffee, or your bedtime routine. But once in a while, it's helpful to switch up your routine. Doing things differently can take you out of your comfort zone, exercise new parts of your brain, and help you discover new ways to do them in the future.
"Breaking up your daily routines can help you figure out how to do things better," Itamar Shatz, a PhD candidate at Cambridge University and author of Solving Procrastination, tells Bustle. "Most of us have a daily routine that we feel comfortable with, and we are often reluctant to change it. This can be an issue when it causes us to miss out on the opportunity to improve the way we do things simply because we've always done them a certain way."
Getting out of old patterns can also open you up to new ideas, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and yoga teacher Dr. Jodi Ashbrook tells Bustle. "When you step outside of your daily routine to try something new, or press pause to take a break from the chaos and soak up a moment, you may be surprised by unexpected inspiration that could impact you in a positive way, both personally and professionally."
Shatz recommends picking one part of your day to improve at a time and trying to do it in a different way than usual. "If the new way of doing things works better, then you can stick with it moving forward. Otherwise, you can return to your old way of doing things."
You don't have to make a big change to experience these benefits. Here are some small, simple ways to break up your routine.
1. Hang Out In New Spots
If there's a seat you always sit in at your apartment, your favorite cafe, or your library, try sitting in a new area next time. You may discover a spot that makes you more comfortable or productive, says Shatz.
2. Step Outside
Many of us stay inside for long stretches of time, which can not only put a damper on our mood but also diminish our creativity. "Sometimes a short walk, a breath of fresh air, an exercise class outdoors, or simply a moment to be quiet with your own thoughts outdoors can make all the difference in the world," says Ashbrook.
3. Create A New "Theme" For Each Day
Even if you go to the same job every day, that doesn't mean you have to do the same exact work. Instead, Ali Zabel, ACE certified health coach and behavior change specialist, recommends planning each day around a theme. "This will give you a bit of structure in your schedule yet allow you to sprinkle some variety in it as well," she says. "Think about the main categories that you need to schedule in to your day. Making each day focus on one of those categories, rather than doing a little bit of everything, will definitely help you to mix it up."
4. Take A New Route
Keep your brain on its toes by taking a different route to work than usual. "If you drive to work, sign up for a car pool instead," J. Kelly Hoey, inspirational speaker and author of Build Your Dream Network, tells Bustle. "If you take pubic transit, switch up the route you take to your bus stop or subway station."
5. Shop Somewhere New
If you buy your usual food, drinks, and goods from a different place, you just may find that you like the new one even better. At the very least, it'll add variety to your life. To start, Hoey suggests getting your coffee from a new coffee shop.
6. Plan Your Meetings Outside The Office
If you have a 9-5, it can get monotonous and depressing to spend all day in one office. To combat this boredom, Hoey recommends getting outside and holding "walking meetings." Another alternative is to have your meetings over food at a restaurant. Or, if leaving the office isn't doable, use a different conference room than usual.
7. Sample Different Breakfasts
How you start your day will set the tone for the rest of it, so beginning it with a tasty new treat will get you excited for the day to come. Hoey suggests eating a new breakfast every day for two weeks.
"The advantage of this approach is that it has a very low cost," says Shatz. "The worst case scenario is that you will end up figuring out that your usual routine is better than some alternative, and will entail only a small, one-time interruption to your usual routine. Conversely, the possible upside to this approach is enormous, since you might discover a way to significantly improve your routine in the long-term."