Many freelancers, and entrepreneurs like myself, have the luxury and privilege of setting our own work schedules. If you’re in such a situation, really try to take advantage of this freedom by varying your routines.
If you don’t have a job working from home, or have the ability to dictate your work schedule, there are still many things that you can do to switch things up in order to break from your usual grind. If you normally drive, take public transportation and save some gas money and the environment. If you’re heart set on driving, take a different route. I myself like to take different routes on the subway or while walking (even if it takes longer and its somewhat out of the way), just to change the scenery and feel like I’m experiencing something new. Sometimes when my condo elevator is out of commission, I’m forced to ‘do it a different way’ by taking the stairs - unlucky for me its usually when I’m coming home with my arms filled with groceries haha! But yeah, occasionally take the stairs and give your body some extra exercise. Eat lunch in the park instead of at your computer (I know I’ve been guilty of that many times!).
Don’t get me wrong, routines are important, but it’s a matter of figuring out which ones serve you, and which ones are making life repetitive. Having no routines at all is unhealthy and unproductive. Routines and structure force us to get things done! Just make sure to stay consciously aware, and catch yourself when you slip into auto-pilot and are just going through the motions. Keeping things new and fresh help you to stay present and feeling more alive.
Last summer I started swimming in the pool in my condo during my normal ‘work hours’ to change the flow of my day. It was a great way to have fun, get exercise and refresh my mind for the rest of my work day. Unfortunately this newfound pastime was cut short after getting a ton of water stuck in my ear, bleaching my royal blue bathing suit to a purpley-pinkish colour, and frying my hair with an over-chlorinated pool! But don’t let this deter you from trying something like this. I had a blast, and now that the pool guy has convinced me that the problem has been fixed, I might just give it another try. Swimming is good, chlorine is not!
Lately I’ve been varying what I work on day-to-day. One day I’ll focus on the creative, by designing posters, drawing and brainstorming. The next day I’ll work on all of the nitty gritty administrative tasks that need to get done. Some days I won’t work at all, which sometimes makes me feel guilty, but I realize the importance of taking breaks, stepping back and gaining perspective.