Routine is the Enemy of Creativity

 I bet you have your daily routine dialed in: wake up, get ready for the day, have some coffee, go to work/school, come home from work/school, do something rad in the evening, maybe have a drink, and repeat Monday through Friday. If that’s your routine, we’re a lot alike, or at least we were. I don’t know about you, but I hated my routine. It felt like I was just going through the motions and not doing anything meaningful. It’s been a little over a week since I hit the road with my brother and within days I found myself missing my routine I had so carefully dialed in over the years.Routine is the Enemy of Creativity

Photo: Adam Fricke

We look for patterns in our daily lives. We’re taught from a young age to find patterns and utilize them to get things accomplished quicker, better, faster. It’s a wonder I was missing my routine. Since as long as I can remember I’ve been carefully trained to find routine and use it to my advantage and poof gone.

Finding routine on the road’s tough. So far we’ve been in virtually a different city everyday and come up with our plan for the day, if you can even call it a plan, in the morning when we get up or right as we’re getting ready to turn in for the night. For someone who has lived by a routine for years, it’s rough.

Living a life of routine kills creativity. 10 days in and it’s gotten easier. The initial shock of living in a van and always being on the move has subsided and it’s easier for me to appreciate the lack of routine. Without routine things look different, sound different, they are different. Everything stands out because our perception changes. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this.

We read left to right and when we scan across the ocean, for instance, we look left to right. When we do that we miss certain things because we expect to see what’s next rather than actually seeing what’s in front of us. When a good filmmaker is shooting a scene and the camera pans across an open area, it’s generally from right to left. It’s more dramatic for their audience since our routine’s to look from left to right. Search and rescue teams are trained to search from right to left so they break their routine and they have a better chance of seeing what they’re searching for.

Don’t go off berating me just yet. Some routine’s good, don’t get me wrong. Dental hygiene, wearing clean underwear, washing hands, those are all great routines to keep up with. You and anyone that comes near you will thank you. The same route you take to and from work/school, change it up! Take another route and keep an eye out for something new.

You’ll never find that golden nugget that’ll turn your day around if you keep doing what you’ve been doing.