Disrupt your routines

May 9, 2016

by Ravi Raman

How you do things plays a big part in your outcomes. Specifically, by “how”, I’m referring to how you arrange and order things to achieve precise results.

The dog bit Jim.
Jim bit the dog.

Both of these statements contain the same words, but one makes you hope Jim is ok while the other makes Jim seem like a raging psychopath.

The arrangement of things and ideas matter a lot.

Since I’ve got pizza on my mind, let’s use that as an example.

Imagine making a pie from scratch with high-quality ingredients. You first put down a layer of veggies (mushrooms please!), then coat the vegetables in cheese, smother it all in sauce and finally cover it with some homemade dough and olive oil. For a crispy crust, you put your inverted pizza directly on the oven rack.

How is that pizza going to turn out?

Next, let’s look at a relationship oriented example. I recently had a conversation with a friend who is looking for the woman of his dreams, so this popped into my mind. Imagine going out to a bar and walking up to the most gorgeous woman in the room, planting a kiss on her, then telling her a hilarious and long-winded story and finally, saying hello and sharing your name.

This strategy would end you up in jail.

The arrangement of what you do is crucial!

Likewise, changing your method can give you new insights, learning and perhaps even turn around a failed situation.

Today, I experienced this first hand. I decided to do my daily run in the morning instead of midday. The rest of my day remained unchanged. I still ate my typical meals, did my usual coaching calls, played with my dog and wrote a blog post.

However, I noticed that how I felt during the day and the quality of what I did was much better. I was more energetic and focused and felt like I made smarter choices for what to eat. I was also far more present during my client calls. Moving my run to the morning had a positive impact that rippled through everything else I did, even though I didn’t add anything new to my schedule.

I imagine that the same strategy can be applied to someone in a career context.

Suppose you want to figure out how to get more creative work done in your day. Try shifting around the order of your meetings and other scheduled times to work on your solo projects. You may discover that by playing with the arrangement of your day, that you are able to be more creative at certain times, more focused on other occasions or perhaps just experience the motivation that can come from trying out a new routine.

Who knows, you might discover, like so many great thinkers, that you do amazing work at ungodly early hours of the morning despite always having thought of yourself as a night owl.

I think routines are great and necessary. However, if you feel stuck at all with something, try shifting things around and see if that sparks improvement.

Just like rearranging the furniture in your living room can make it feel like a brand new space, the same strategy can breathe a sense of newness and energy to other parts of your lifestyle.

Further reading 📚

Who’s the star of your Hero’s Journey?

"A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push." ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein Justin Alexander Shetler lived the dream. For many years he crisscrossed the globe, documenting...

How to improve when you are out of time and short on energy

To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, subtract things every day. ​~ Lao Tzu If you are like my friends, colleagues and clients; you aspire for self-improvement but struggle to balance the demands of your life, work, and personal...

Berkshire 2022 Annual Meeting Notes

Some people get excited when an actor they like stars in a new feature film, standing in line on opening day with a bucket of popcorn. Or perhaps you stay up hitting refresh on your browser to snag tickets for your favorite band when they are coming to town. I am...

The role of free-play in a high-performance work culture

One of the interesting things about having a toddler is the sheer amount of unstructured play involved. Toddlers have rules, but they are absolutely not your rules. For example, the other week I had plans to set up an elaborate game involving a bushel of...

Your ducks are not in a row and that’s OK

The snow has finally melted here in Minnesota. More than that, the first fresh green shoots of new growth are visible, though you need to strain a bit to see them. The hostas in our backyard look bleak, a drooping pile of dead leaves, but deep green new growth is...

%d bloggers like this: