We can get stuck in routines, even find comfort in their consistencies. We become comfortable and complacent in these daily routines that seem to be working for us. And, while there isn’t anything wrong with having a routine, it can help us stay organized and motivated, sometimes we don’t realize just how stuck in it we are.
Sometimes it happens without conscious thought that we end up throwing our familiar days out the window. Sometimes we do it with purpose to “shake things up”.
I found that I didn’t realize the rut I had been in for months. The days came and went quickly as work became more work and responsibilities added up and, before I realized it, weeks blurred by with nothing too different happening. Holidays are great for breaking up those days, to throw in some extra time to visit with family and friends from out of town, even those from in town that you just don’t make the time to visit.
We recently added a puppy to our family and this addition proved to me just how comfortable I got in my own routine, my own rut. I worked in my office from morning until evening, generally unable to focus outside of the space. I would take my grown dogs outside and play with them, run them, but only once work was done, because they were pretty content in my routine too: they loved to sleep on my office floor while I worked, only interrupting me when they wanted a pet or really needed to go outside.
With the addition of the puppy, who, for the sake of my books, is not allowed inside my office until he settles down, I have spent much less time working in there and a lot more time working in the living room or at the kitchen table. I still sneak away to my office when I need to shut out the noise of life, but a lot less. And I have learned that I can be productive working among some distractions. I can make time here and there to take the dogs all outside to burn energy off without it completely disrupting my work flow.
I would argue that these small interruptions, the fresh air and the brief time away, recharges me when I get back in front of my computer. That isn’t to say that the disruption to my routine went smoothly at first, there was an adjustment (and still is some days) but this disruption has reminded me to focus beyond work, to see beyond the to-do list and reinforced that it is okay to take these breaks in the day. The list will still be there and the work will still get done.
While I don’t recommend puppies as a method to disrupt a routine to everyone, for me it has been a very rewarding disruption. It is teaching me patience, organization, and pushing me to get back in touch with the alpha side of me—the one that doesn’t take no, or running away, as an appropriate answer.