Routine can make our everyday lives less complex, the article states. At the same time, Sefton cautions:
A set routine is "convenient, we can do it with our eyes closed," said Dale Bond, an expert in health behavior change at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. "But if that's the case, it means metaphorically we're also going through life with our eyes closed."
The article points out that:
A set routine frees humans from having to reason about recurring situations...
But ingrained routines may also stifle creativity and spontaneity, and dull us to other possibilities.
Eastern philosophies prefer "mindful living," the awareness of each moment. "The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness -- an autopilot life," Bond said. You go through the motions, again and again, not even remembering your commute to work that morning.
We've all got our routines. But when does a comfortable routine become a one-way ticket to the numb zone?
The way to determine whether a routine is efficient and comfortable or mundane and oppressive, experts agreed, is to consciously ponder it.
"If your routine is boring, if you are lethargic about it, think about changing it," said Csikszentmihalyi, a professor of psychology and management at Claremont.
You needn't reject your entire routine, he said. Just consider alternatives. "The problem is, people rarely stop to reflect whether what they are doing they have to do, or they enjoy doing," he said.
At work, Amick said, there are "simple things to try," such as brainstorming with a co-worker about how to make daily tasks more engaging, or asking a supervisor about varying your responsibilities.
Is the routine in your life saving your energy and attention for the things that bring you joy, both in your career and your life in general? Or is it bogging you down, miring you in every expanding waves of lethargy? If it's the latter, what can you change? And when?
Passion Catalyst SM