Your morning alarm goes off at 6.30am. You press snooze a couple of times before making it to the shower by 6.45am. You’re dressed and ready to leave the house by 7.20am so you can make the 7.34am train into town. You grab a coffee from your regular cafe on your walk to the office, log on to your computer by 8.45am and by 9am you’re making your way to your daily meeting.
And then it hits you – your daily routine makes you feel as though you’re trapped in a life of sameness, repetition and monotony. And you don’t like it one bit.
Although routine keeps us productive, it can sometimes feel suffocating.
Here are three things you can do today to make your life feel a little less mundane:
1. Change it up
As the age-old saying goes, a change is as a good as a holiday.
What can you do to change things up and introduce an exciting moment into your day? Changing something in your daily routine will make it feel less like, well, a routine. Here are some ideas:
- Do you have the flexibility to start work earlier or later? If so, do that
- Take a different route on your morning walk to the station. Or take a different train line, bus route or drive to work
- Wear an item of clothing you haven’t worn in months. That electric blue sweater you always get compliments on but rarely wear? Put that on!
- Go to a different cafe to get your morning coffee
- Go for a walk during your lunch break. It’s not only great for your mental health, it beats staying in the same office environment all day.
2. Make your commute enjoyable
Do you spend up to an hour commuting each day to get to and from work? Do you generally dread the commute because you find it long and tedious?
Then consider filling your commute with something enjoyable. This way, you’ll not only look forward to this window of time between your work day, it’ll also break up the monotony.
- Put together a playlist of your current favourite songs and enjoy them while you drive to work. Alternatively, dig out an album from five or 10 years ago for a bit of nostalgic listening
- Listen to a podcast. There are plenty of podcasts that cater to different interests. Whether you’re into business, the arts, comedy, true crime, book reviews or celebrity interviews, there’s something for everyone. Still stuck for ideas? For ideas, take a look at our post about podcasts for ambitious career women, mental health podcasts to boost your mood, or podcasts to listen to while working out.
If taking the train/bus:
- If audio is your preference, try one of the above
- Listen to a guided meditation. It’s a great way to disconnect and will help you to start the day in a calmer state
- Read a new book. Download a fresh read to your Kindle or grab that book that has been sitting on your bookshelf for months that you’ve been meaning to start
- Watch a show/movie. With the ability to download TV episodes and full films from Netflix, why not get more shut eye the night before and save the viewing for your commute?
- There’s something very therapeutic about journaling. Why not use your commute to jot down your thoughts?
- Use it as brainstorming time. Thinking about starting a new hobby or creative project? Use your commute to write down ideas. Consider a cooking class, or if you’d prefer to bake at home you could challenge yourself to a new cake or dessert recipe that uses whipped cream. Buy nangs online and discover a new world of cream whippers to make your baking fun and easy.
- Learn a new language. Try Duolingo – short lessons mean you can learn on the go
- Plan out your week. Want to finally start eating healthy? Use your commute to create a shopping list and weekly meal plan. Ditto for an exercise regime, reviewing your finances or making a to-do list for those tasks around the house that just need to get done.
3. Book in something different this week
There’s no better way to switch things up than being spontaneous. Book something in for tomorrow or later this week so you have something to look forward to. Be as adventurous and daring as you like!
Try one of the below:
- Contact a friend you haven’t seen in a while and plan to meet them for a glass of wine after work one day this week.
- Book in a casual dance, yoga or art class.
- See a movie by yourself tonight. (Surprisingly enjoyable and a good option for introverts).
- Sign up to an event or class in your city. Laneway Learning (available in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Singapore and Auckland) is great for affordable, one-off classes like knitting, phone photography or upcycling. Alternatively, find a Meetup group in your city.
- Book yourself an online private language class and learn a new language before your next holiday or just for fun!
TELL US: What do you do to break the monotony? Let us know in the comments section below.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on August 9, 2017 and has been updated to include new information.