This past week has been monotonous.
Everyday blended into one long-running slog of work with a sprinkle of sleep (or lack thereof). It was like a carousel of irritating deja vu.
The mornings all went down in similar fashion; looking outside to a window covered in ice followed by a shower that is too hot in a house that is too cold, my face immediately burning from icy air the second I step outside, car barely starts, random traffic, new hazard lights flashing across my dashboard.
And then we start again.
Worst of all, my workouts felt lethargic and I had little desire to write anything after 5 PM.
I suppose I was just having one of those weeks.
The funny thing is, I have strategically structured my life to avoid this sort of predictability. I enjoy variance to some degree, and yet I’m stuck amidst a routine that is pulling me in like quicksand the harder I try and escape.
Everyone experiences times like these where the uncertainties that life tends to attract build up in an insurmountable fashion.
It feels as if your broken, running on fumes just to get through the day. However, it’s important to learn how to effectively deal with obstacles in a healthy and productive way.
And the best way to improve is by recognizing these instances on the surface level and adjust before they become permanent.
Here are 3 signs that your routine is quietly killing your passion.
1. There’s Habit Without Value
It’s no secret that our culture is obsessed with building habits. We tend to lean on them as indicators of success. But do you always know the reason behind your habits?
“We measure habits for the sake of measuring habits rather than deeply questioning why we do them.”
Habits might sustain you for a week or a month. They don’t sustain you for the rest of your life. About 6 months ago, I tried writing at the same exact time every night (9 PM-11 PM).
I figured that outputting a certain number of words in this frame would magically make me a better writer.
This routine was wonderful in the beginning- it gave me enough time to exercise after work and I could be asleep by 11:30 PM.
Then I had a few consecutive nights where I sat down in the same spot at the same time and…nothing. The ideas weren’t there, my words felt flat, and I became increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t produce the results I desired.
So I went back and analyzed why I was doing this. Was it for convenience or because I truly enjoyed writing?
Habits should support your actions not dictate them. Don’t let the craving to check off a task oppress your passion. Always ask yourself, are the processes you’ve set up backed by value?
2. Motivation Is Nonexistent
The place I have always found solace in is the gym. No matter what is going on in my life, this sanctuary offers me an escape, at least for an hour or two. It brings clarity, and in many ways puts me in the same headspace as writing.
Anyone who has gotten into an exercise routine can tell you about the dreaded plateau, or the moment your hard work appears to be at a stalemate.
Your next move is almost certainly dictated by the level of motivation you can summon from within.
The problem is, routines often make this crossroads unsettling. I have over-exhausted myself plenty of times, solely to stick to a rigid schedule, when the real antidote is taking a few days off and re-focusing.
Getting lost in a routine can be a slippery slope. Over time, it can be difficult to maintain the stimulating effect that had initially been exciting and invigorating.
The second you start losing passion for the activities you love, it’s time to break up your day and re-asses.
3. Creativity Is Suffocated
Do you ever play a song over and over again and then slowly start to hate it? The once melodic harmonies begin to bore you and the lyrics that were deeply moving sound like nails on a chalkboard?
This is exactly what routines can do to your creativity.
Anything on repeat, no matter how beautiful it initially was, will eventually grow tiresome. This is especially true of creative work.
Every entrepreneur, author, musician, or creator will tell you this undeniable truth; the world can be a particularly cruel place for creativity to thrive.
As a marketing professional and writer, my entire day revolves around creativity. I need to be able to produce engaging content, craft visually appealing graphics, and develop stories that people want to hear.
However, if I come at projects from the same vantage point every time, I just can’t find that extra zest I normally try and infuse into my work.
A routine is great at helping me check tasks off a list. But it can also stifle my creativity. The key is to strike a delicate balance between routine and creativity.
If you find that great ideas are appearing less often, maybe it’s time to switch up your routine or abandon it altogether.
Predictability doesn’t breed creativity.
Get Off Autopilot
Listen, the world breaks everyone at some point. As I have learned, it doesn’t help to rest on your laurels in the hopes that life will get better. Maybe it will. Maybe not.
The ordinary person will allow the listed indicators above to turn into week-long affairs that suck the passion out of their life.
The extraordinary person will proactively recognize when a change is needed and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Which do you want to be?