Are you in a rut? Does your family always tell you to show up two hours early to holiday dinners, because you are always 2 hours late? (Your only excuse was you forgot to clean the kitchen for the third time that day.) Having a routine is a good thing. It gives us structure, and discipline, and there is nothing wrong with either one of those. The thing to remember about routine is it is to be mastered; it should not master you.
I’ve watched people who are stuck to their routine, to the exclusion of everything else; or everyone else. The problem is, when you live by a routine, that you are also leaving very little room for creativity. Routines are predictable, and I suppose that makes them safe; but creativity is highly unpredictable, and sporadic. This is very evident in the creative arts. Sometimes inspiration hits in the middle of the night, and other times, in the middle of the day.
Creativity requires flexibility in your schedule. Steven Covey touched on this in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Basically, he talked about having a list of tasks you need to accomplish, and prioritizing the tasks; you do the most urgent first, then the second, and so on. Don’t procrastinate, but don’t bind them to a specific time either. Just remind yourself they have to be done, and the sooner the better. In time, you will begin to see time opening up, to allow for more creative pursuits.
I realize humans are creatures of habit, and we all have our little obsessions, but sometimes you have to retrain your mind to loosen up, and remind yourself that your time, and creativity are two things you can have total control over. No one can take that from you; even though it seems they try.
Here’s something you can do. If you are having trouble coming up with a solution to a problem, try to throw a monkey wrench in your routine. Take a look at those things you do the same each time, and reverse it. (if you are able to) At times this solves the problem, and other times it doesn’t; but if it may work, isn’t it worth the attempt?