Try breaking your routine once in a while to get off autopilot

I’m an advocate of having a routine, but recently I’ve been thinking about how to have a flexible routine. Is it sometimes good to break our routines? Today I accidentally put this to the test and found that breaking your routine is actually quite good.

Break your routine and feel free
Breaking your routine

Normally when I’m ready to start my day I sit down to work right away. I’ll do a few tasks, then head out for my morning walk an hour or so later. Today, though, circumstances helped me to break my routine.

Because I’ve read that we should start our day with the most difficult tasks when we’re more focused, I sat down to work on a budget. But my document in Google Drive wouldn’t load. 5 minutes  later and still nothing, so I decided it was silly to waste my time waiting when I could do something else and return to it later.

I didn’t want to get into another task that might mean I got distracted and didn’t return to my budget. I also felt pretty tired and foggy- headed. So I decided to go for a walk.

How breaking your routine can help you think differently

Breaking your routine can help you see things differently.

I even stopped to take some photos on my walk.

I planned to take my usual short walk to the park nearby. But last minute decided to go a longer route to a bigger park instead. When I was in the park I walked a different route to normal and allowed my decisions to be made in the moment rather than by a pre-existing routine. I realised that we often get stuck in our habitual routines and ways of living and spend a lot of our time on autopilot.

On the way back from the park I took a completely new route home. I thought I knew this area pretty well, but for a good while I had no idea where the road I was on was going to end up. It was great to be completely out of my normal routine.

Getting ‘lost’ in this way took me off autopilot. I saw views I’d never seen before, took in landmarks from a different angle and got to see streets that were new to me. So perhaps breaking your routine is a good way to stop running on autopilot all day. I think changing things up like this is an excellent way to get a new perspective on a problem you’re stuck on.

The effects of going off autopilot

Breaking my routine got me out of my own head. My mind cleared and I returned feeling ready to tackle my day. More importantly, it helped me become open and receptive to signals from outside and inside.

Breaking your routine puts you in a more playful place. You’re  untied from your habitual decisions and ways of doing things and are free to do what feels right in the moment. I’m definitely going to try and break my routine on a more regular basis!

What do you do to break your routine? Do you take a different route to work/the shops or change the order of your day? I’d love to know your experiences with this. 

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

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