There is comfort in routine. You know exactly how the day is going to go. No suprises, no worries. The problem is, suprises occur and because you have been dulled by the routine you are not then prepared to handle them. My favorite guru, Alan Weiss, writes in his August newsletter that a lack of exercise results in you being fat and that a lack of mental exercise results in your brain and thought processes being “fat” as well. As he says “The bad news here is that the same phenomena apply to your mind. There are people who arise, travel the same way to the same job, return home, have dinner, watch TV, and retire, in preparation for the same lemming path the next day. There are also those so immersed in a specialty or passion that their minds turn into tiny black holes of specialized focus, sucking in and destroying all other learning (my favorites are the cyberspace crowd, who will soon forget how to create eye contact and shake hands—they are busy sending email to a colleague 20 yards away). “
Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Just as the “burn” of muscles show that you are performing physically Weiss says “Your mind is doing best when you are debating, considering other viewpoints, attempting things you haven’t ever done, building both your creative and logical capacity, and “sore” from the work of invigoration and inspiration.” He asks the following “Are you reading a wide variety of books, particularly outside of your comfort zone? Are you entering into lively and controversial debates? Do you express yourself in writing? Have you tried to figure out new ways to accomplish old tasks, and create new paths for the future?”
I personally dislike routine. I drive different ways to work, I listen to different radio stations. I try to visit different blogs and sample different points of view. I have tried different forms of exercise, though I still need to get to a yoga class. I make sure I pick up different magazines and read them for a difference (I read the womens magazines waiting to have my hair cut.) I have even been missing my Sunday morning paper and coffee. I think it makes my life a bit more interesting and in turn also makes me a bit more interesting to my friends and collegues. I may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier but I try to shed a bit of light around me.
So if you are stuck in an HR routine try to do something different this week. Shake it up a bit, you might find the week goes by a bit quicker and a little more interestingly.
BTW, I am starting up the newspaper and coffee again. There are somethings you just can’t change!