Routine is one of the main killers of the good things in life. Routine makes us lose perception. Routine creates an unfair perception of some of the activities that we do in our daily routines. We start undervaluing and we forget the importance of some of those activities.
It’s easy to get out of routine, but when we are immersed in our ‘day to day’ we forget that fact. Sometimes the only thing we need is a small change, a small ‘twist’ in some of those activities.
I am on a crusade to rescue the importance of the small details. To remember to all of who are reading this blog post that sometimes a small change or a small action, no matter how simple or insignificant they may seem, can make all the difference.
As part of that crusade, I propose four changes for four daily activities. With these changes, perhaps we could find more value, or find ways to make these activities more efficient or more fun:
1.Why do meetings always have to be in a room while we are sitting? Let’s have meetings while we walk. When we are trying to find a solution to a problem, or when we are discussing a new idea, or just to follow up on a pending issue, we usually have meetings. We talk about different things, but the formats and the context of the meetings are almost always the same: a room with a central table and some chairs. People talking, sitting one in front of the other…Boring.
What would happen if we change the context of the meetings? What would happen if we try to change the posture, the context and the places where we normally meet?
My proposal for my work team over the next month will be to have at least one of our weekly meetings walking through the park near the office. Maybe if we change our environment, it will also help us to give new context and meaning to the outputs of our meetings. Perhaps we will end up connecting ideas and concepts that we haven’t been able to connect before.
Maybe the solution is not more meetings, maybe the solution is to have new meeting formats…
2.Let’s send more convincing emails. Many times, the emails we send or receive are three, four or more paragraphs, and only until the end, we are able to understand what is what the other person wants, or what was the reason for sending that email.
Obviously, there are situations when you need to make an introduction and put the other person in context. But, what would happen if we reverse the process? What if we first tell people what do we want from them, and what benefit they are going to obtain, and then we give them the context about how is this going to happen?
Context is important, but I assure you that this person will have much more interest in reading your email after you explain what is going to be the benefit. First, grab their interest, then explain everything you want to explain. First the call to action, then the courtesies.
Maybe the solution is not more emails (or longer emails), maybe what you need to do to grab people’s attention (so they don’t ignore your emails) is explaining them, since the first line of the email, what is going to be their benefit or what are you expecting from them.
3.Let’s get the brain out of its routine. Let’s exercise the brain with unexpected activities. As I mentioned in the introduction of this post, routine usually leads to boredom. Why don’t we change the way we do some activities, so the brain doesn’t get bored? What will happen to the brain if we try to brush our teeth with the opposite hand? This could sound stupid, but actually, there is a lot of research about the benefits of this type of activities.
Maybe your less-skilled hand can give you an unexpected surprise…
4. Let’s surprise someone when we say ‘Hello’. 90% of the time, when we say ‘hello’ to someone, we ask “How are you?” and the answer is always the typical “Good” or “Very good” or “Good, working hard” or “Good, suffering from this weather”. These “autopilot” answers are another demonstration of how the routine can consume our day without us even realizing it.
What if, when we say ‘hello’, instead of asking “How are you?” we ask “What was the best thing that happened to you today (or yesterday)?”.
Let’s take people by surprise. Let’s fool the routine, let’s get a smile (or an angry answer) from people with this unexpected question.
How many decades have we been saying “hello” in the same way? Why don’t we try something different?
Maybe this way, a greeting will stop being just a greeting and will become the first step to start an interesting conversation…
That’s life: a series of activities that we execute day after day. Many times, from executing them, they become “landscape” and we get absorbed by routine. And, unlike what many people think, I think that small changes really work. If we start to think about how to find new ways to get value from everyday activities, we could receive a great surprise, and, doing the same activities we already do on a daily basis, we could start living a totally different life…
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