Monday, October 27, 2008


"Duck Pond," (c) 2008 Jeane Vogel Photography, Infrared photograph

I think the worst advice I ever got was "Stick to a Routine." 

It goes like this: Develop a good work routine. Make your routine part of your life. You won't have to think about it. Exercise. Be at your desk. Perform your hated tasks first. Take your vitamins. Drink your milk. Read the paper.

Your routine will become so natural that the creativity will just leak out of your ears.

Oh, wait. That last part wasn't supposed to happen. But it does. Every time.

A routine is comfortable. It's dependable. It's mind-numbing.

It will make your my brain stop. Cold. That's the whole point of a routine. Do something often enough, in the same order, over and over. It's a part of you. You don't think about it. You don't THINK!

I'm not saying all routines are bad. It's probably a good idea to set a bill paying routine, for example. But most of the time, a routine will stop me from trying something new. 
A routine starts with: "I will do it this way." It eventually turns into "We've always done it this way." 

See? Creativity leaked right out.

So here's the new advice: at least once a week, try something new or unexpected.

But don't make it routine.

1 comment:

ChaoticBlackSheep said...

I don't know that routines are entirely bad, but it does hold true that different people do well in different situations. Some need structure to be able to accomplish things in a timely manner and to avoid distractions. Others need to shake things up a little not to fall into habits that discourage free thinking and creativity. Most of us reside someplace in the middle.

I find that I am personally much like you in that I can't follow a set regime and expect to be creative, but some people are too easily distracted when they don't and they cannot funnel their creative energy into anything productive without some sort of structure. Perhaps whoever told you to "stick to a routine" was one of those people.