Most of us live the majority of our days in our routines – putting in the work towards a series of objectives or goals.
We stay focused, and over time, find ways to incrementally improve our efficiency and effectiveness at whatever it is that we do. We work towards mastering our craft.
Over time, we become a well oiled machine, getting to a point where we no longer need to think about many of the things we do – they are just that ingrained.
This all sounds great! And it is.
However it also sounds like we are becoming a machine – singularly focused on a specific set of tasks, objectives and goals – a sounds and feels a bit less human.
That doesn’t sound so great… and it’s not.
While there is value in optimizing what we do on a daily basis, we run the risk of losing ourselves in the process… losing sight of why we started on the goal in the first place. The initial excitement… gone.
We should always strive for making incremental improvements in our craft, however only focusing on that will make it difficult to elevate our game to new levels.
Sometimes we need to break away from the routines and our ‘normal’ processes.
Sometimes we need to escape to new places and locations to find inspiration and rev up our mind to new perspectives, insights and opportunities for massive growth.
Sometimes we need to get away and think bigger.
For a while now I’ve prioritized being productive a bit too much. Enough that I’ve lost myself in my routine. I’ve found myself stuck in this mix of running on auto-pilot and trapped in a rigid “must-do” routine.
For example, I’ve been so focused on incorporating healthy habits because of the value they are touted to bring that I’ve actually lost any sense of whether I’m getting any value out of them.
What’s worse, is that I’ve put them on the pedestal of needing to do them, so much so, that if I don’t get them in, I’m mentally knocked off balance for a chunk of the day. Doesn’t sound too healthy or productive to me.
And so I find myself a bit lost in the routine and lost in the schedule. For a time, I found myself ending my days uncertain as to what I accomplished – the day was simple a blur.
While I rectified this a bit with the Productivity Planner – a great tool that helps me define what success looks like each day – I’ve come to the realization that what I really need is a get-away.
I need a time and place to think bigger… to dream. It’s time to get out of the routine and force the auto-pilot to disengage.
It’s time to really go deep on what else is possible. It’s time to change up the scenery and allow myself to be inspired.
Find Inspiration Outside of Your Normal
There’s a reason why leadership teams within organizations get away from time to time for strategy sessions.
It’s a chance to get out of the normal setting, the regular routine, the daily grind. It’s an opportunity to expose their minds and senses to new stimuli and perspectives. To drum up new ideas and approaches.
Organizations do it, so why shouldn’t we, as individuals, take that same time to think and dream bigger – to let ourselves be inspired and strategize for the short and long term that lies ahead.
So while we all can’t necessarily get away to a resort or conference center for our personal strategy time, I wanted to provide a few ideas to help get us out of our routines and into a different setting and state of mind to uncover our next breakthrough moment so that we can break out in our personal or professional space:
Find the place(s) that inspires you – I would actually stress places to keep things new, fresh and routine-proof. On the smaller scale, find a local park, nature preserve, walking trail, water feature, or some other space that resonates with you and let’s your mind detach. On the larger scale, get away to a beach, spa, mountain cabin or ski lodge to completely immerse yourself in something new for several days. Still not sure where to go? Ask yourself, where does my mind feel clear and open to new ideas?
Build time into your schedule / give yourself permission to think – Based on how we started today’s conversation, it’s important that we schedule or define time to get away because this time will definitely not fit in with our daily routines. That’s why it’s so critical!! How often can you make this time investment? Quarterly? Monthly? Weekly? Determine your cadence, find your get-a-way spot and commit!
Turn off the technology – Once you are away, don’t waste your get-a-way opportunity by staying glued to your device. Turn off as much technology as you can and take in everything that is around you – that’s where the inspiration is going to happen, not on your social media feeds.
Build a mindset of opportunity – While you are taking this time for yourself, don’t dismiss any big ideas that hit you. Our regular routines and schedules do enough constraining by their very nature. Write down whatever comes to mind and go deep on those ideas. They may not all pan out, but don’t limit yourself and miss out on a potential game changing opportunity or idea.
Refill your tank – Quite possibly the most important point I can make today is to ensure you enjoy your time away and give yourself permission to just be. Getting out of our daily routines is a chance to regain energy, motivation and drive. Resist the urge to fall back into the trap of making your get-away time a high-productivity / routine-based time. I’ve fallen back into that mentality one too many times, and caution you to not do the same! Prioritize this time to fuel your body, mind and spirit!
Discussion Question: How can you build in time this week or month to get out of your normal routine and think bigger?
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