Breaking the routine is a good thing

For the past few weeks, I’ve been frustrated by the monotony of my life, the same routine each week. I was desperate for something to change.

Last week it happened when the snow fell. Not just a light sprinkling but several inches. Enough to disrupt transport and getting to work so much that I had two days off work.

Rather than do what I usually do, work and keep ticking off stuff on my to-do list. I decided that this extra time was a gift. I would concentrate on my painting almost exclusively. Amongst watching DVDs and YouTube, I completed several small works, most of which I’m happy with. Now that it’s all done, I miss my unstructured, spontaneous time. I wanted and probably needed it.

Our lives are focused on the routine: Getting things done and ticking the checklist. That’s tiring after a while because there’s no let-up; the work never ceases. Last week was a chance to relax and enjoy my time. It shows how vital the occasional break is. Like a weekend away or a holiday, we need those days when we put everything aside with no other purpose than to enjoy ourselves.

No agenda, no lists, no timetables and no goals. Just chilling, playing, or passively accepting.

We often think, or we’re told, that such time is laziness. Yet I managed to do more painting during those days than I would have if I had followed a to-do list. It demonstrates we can get things done if we allow ourselves the time to do so. Putting other concerns aside, the time left can be spent on something specific. Something that I don’t get to do as much as well 

It shows that we must set aside time for tasks or when opportunity strikes to take advantage of the unexpected. Erect proper boundaries around that time so that we’re not interrupted. To allow ourselves to go at our own pace. To let our minds wander and foster creativity.

It also shows that, paradoxically, we need interruptions. Routines need breaking; habits need to be disrupted. It’s a test showing us how well we can cope or not. But it also provides opportunities to try new routines or activities.

When something goes wrong, it’s not always a negative. Better ways of working can be discovered because we must find new paths and methods.

Change and growth come from this marriage of destruction and creation.

I’m going to miss the snow. It was a welcome break. It gave me time to do what I wanted most: paint.

These upsets are necessary to get us out of those habitual ruts we get stuck in.

Next time something goes wrong, see it as an opportunity to try something new. Put aside the typical day-to-day concerns where possible and use the time doing something you have postponed for far too long.

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