Routines. Patterns. Grooves. Habits. Do you find yourself in a rut because of them? I do. I find myself cooking the same meals, or walking the same route through our neighborhood, or even in a creative slump.
The antidote? Variety. Your brain will perk up and see new possibilities.
There is a quarter-mile path that circles our dog park. My natural tendency is to walk it clockwise, so I make a point of switching to counter-clockwise every couple visits. Same with routes I walk around my neighborhood. If I find myself going into default mode several days in a row, I turn the other direction. (Wookie appreciates the variety.)
I have CD’s that are my go-to music: Elaine Elias, Bebel Gilberto, Andrea Bocelli, Laura Nyro, Norah Jones… Recently I set my stereo to “shuffle” mode, which orders the songs randomly, and it’s like hearing a new album each time. Whee!
Browsing through cookbooks and my old issues of Bon Apétit sparks my culinary creativity and reminds me that, yes, I am still a good cook who knows how to make more than roast chicken and vegetables.
One of my goals this year is to play my instruments more, sing more, and write new songs. Since I’ve been saying that to myself for the last couple years (with marginal follow-through), I’ve made it a twenty- or thirty-minute warm-up to my daily writing session. Besides being fun, it's a great way to get the creative juices flowing.
How do you like to mix things up?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a banjo that needs tuning.