When I was in younger, I loved field trips. Whether it was to a less than spectacular local museum or an end of the year picnic at the local park, I loved the excitement.
I realize now that these days were so memorable because they offered a change from the monotony of my daily routine. They were a jolt of adrenaline that allowed my friends and I to venture beyond the walls of our school and experience the world.
These were “red letter days” in a calendar of blank, bleak Mondays.
I recently made the decision to consciously seek out change in my daily process- to disrupt the habits and routines of my day-to-day so that I can try to uncover a better way of doing things. Hopefully, gaining that same “jolt” I did as an elementary school student.
Disruption One: Exercising Before Work
Get up early and exercise. It will change the way you approach your work. I am more lucid, confident and productive when I arrive at the office on days when I exercise before work.
I am not a doctor so I will not attempt to explain the cognitive benefits of exercise on the brain, but in 2017, I began exercising before work and I have seen noticeable differences in my job approach. I am more prone to action and able to process complex data and concepts throughout the day at a higher functioning level.
Pack your bag or lay out your gear the night before…set your alarm for 5am…enjoy your coffee…and disrupt your morning routine.
Disruption Two: Take an Alternate Route
For most of my career, I have had the luxury of a multi modal commute; car, railroad, subway and walking. Living in New York, it has been an incredibly inconsistent and at times frustrating process on a daily basis.
The 6:31am train is comical. Each of the eight people I see on a consistent basis have the same routine. We each stand in the same spot, we generally dress consistently, have coffee in hand, probably having already completed two cups already. We generally find our way to the same seats too.
One day, I missed the 6:31 and it was invigorating- a “jolt.” There were new people, a new seat with a different view and a different route to Manhattan with new scenery. I am telling you it made a difference.
Take a different route to work….get on an earlier train…walk down a different street…talk to somebody new….get your coffee from somewhere you have never tried…and disrupt commute.
Disruption Three: Implement Retro Days
How did anybody get anything done prior to email?
A few years ago, I was introduced to a senior leader of a Fortune 500 company that told me about how much he has benefited from setting up days without answering a single email while during work hours.
The objective is to move all communication to a face to face, phone call or virtual setting. He removed email from his process a few times a month and focused on engaging with the people around him, much like business have done for hundreds if not thousands of years before emojis and reply all.
It may require some advanced planning and coordination, but I’ve found that my “retro days” are far more efficient and productive. Speaking to my team directly helps me develop more complete relationships and improves my understanding of their thoughts and views.
Disrupt Your Process
Seeking out change in your life is critical. Whether massive or minute, disrupting your process will provide change the monotony of our daily routines and potentially improve the life you are leading.
What will you do today to disrupt your process?