‘Routine’ almost sounds like a dirty word for most of us. It may often sap out our life in our work day, steal away our motivation to think better and perform better. But the effects of routines for better or for worse are a choice.
Many people feel stuck or trapped in a routine despite trying different things to come out of it. The truth is, most people fail to break routines because of their unwillingness to place ‘routine work’ in the right place inside their frame of mind. Take stock first whether routine is 20% or 80% of your work.
If routine is a small part of our work, then its possible for it to become a welcome part of our day and increase productivity. It then leaves space for us to consider and do work that creates more meaning and energy for us. There are ways and means to achieve this and its just as easy as creating a shift in perceiving it and making use of it to our advantage.
Constant breaks of uninterrupted focus that does not require taxing too much of our mental faculties, is essential for a stress-free life. Such breaks free much needed mental space for us to be more readier for the real stress-ors in work, maybe a challenging boss or a impending promotion or a risk of a downturn. But often what happens is that, while doing routine work, we tend to INCREASE stress to our mind. Because instead of learning to focus, we tend to clutter our minds with fears, hatred and boredom.
People are recommended to practice concentration techniques like meditating on the breath and so on to reduce stress in work-life. While that is indeed a great idea, its also smarter to utilize certain parts of your work itself as your stress busting technique. Routine work is a blessing in disguise when you are able to execute such work with not only an aim to get the work done, but also to receive its beneficial ‘side-effects’ for yourself, which is focus and relaxation.
Knowing this, plan your routine work as breaks in your schedule. Give full focus to while you work on it. Initially, if your mind loiters, catch yourself, remind yourself of the benefits of focus and bring it back patiently to your work. It is easier to focus when you work on something exciting. But you can learn to view routine like a work-out. Concentration techniques use the same formula of training the mind to keep repeatedly bringing back on an object of meditation like a mantra or your breath. Now your routine work is your object, your mantra to achieve the same focus, the same relaxation.
We could train our mind muscles to improve its focusing strength and also get relaxed, while we ensure the routine work gets done quickly and better. That’s hitting three stones together!
Its only when 80% of your work is routine, that you must perhaps pro-actively give it serious thought of how to initiate a big change in your job or your perception of the current job. Time to strongly believe in possibilities which will make you feel truly alive and kicking in your life. Its your right to claim that back from life, from yourself.
Whether your small amount of routine work sucks your energy out or you seemed to have settled down in helpless resignation in a largely routine job which you might hate, it’s a choice that you are making with a precious life that is meant to be lived and not just survived. Give it careful thought and take control of your life. Choose to Change instead of waiting to ‘Be Changed’.