There is a danger in sticking to the commonplace and familiar.
“A routine keeps you on task and keeps you moving when things are hard (which can be often). It also gives you space and a structure to work within. And it gives you a structure to break when it makes sense. There has to be a balance here – if you always break your routine, then it’s not a routine – but sometimes breaking your routine is exactly what you need.” ~ Dan Cumberland
It’s much better to have a plan of action to try to keep expanding your range of experience and knowledge about business networking. Anything helps that keeps you sharp, particularly if it puts you in touch with new ideas and people. We get stuck in mental ruts doing menial jobs.
Some people call it “Mind Maintenance.” It’s breaking out of the sometimes boring routine and allowing yourself to intentionally be side-tracked by something that will help train your brain… not strain your brain. Unfortunately, when some of us reach a certain status and level of success, we often feel complacent, contented with our way of life. We must break free from this cozy cocoon. Shake things up a little; take on new responsibilities and risks, and see where they take you.
Get up out of that chair, go jogging, take a different route to work, get out to the gym, stayed off your computer at night, take a swim, bike around the lake, shovel manure for an hour, do something. Working up a sweat gives your subconscious a chance to idle for a while, and as a bonus, it’s good for your body. Take a sandwich to work and eat it in the park. Read a chapter in a book you have put off reading. Do your to-do tasks in reverse order for a day. Learn to say no. Turn down opportunities if they aren’t in your best interest. Changing your routine is also a very easy way to give yourself new input from the world: new sights, sounds, perhaps new people to meet along the way.
“There are no limits to what you can accomplish when you are supposed to be doing something else.” ~ Larry James 😉
Look at it as an adventure. Finding new people to spend time with can open you up to different conversations. Learn to take a moment to learn something new every day. That’s one thing I do. It not only helps me in my business, but my everyday life. That “something new” doesn’t have to be about business. It needs to be something that broadens my horizon. It may be taking a few minutes to read the paper (a section I don’t usually read and at a time when I don’t usually do that) or taking a quick “power nap” for 5 to 7 minutes in the middle of the afternoon. That, my friend, is invigorating. Your goal is to explore life. Do something different. Make it more interesting.
Of course, I always recommend that you network. Try this. Give yourself a couple of nights off this week. Instead of attending every networking meeting on the planet, begin to focus on what you can give to one group. This demands loyalty. Networking says you must venture out into the world and meet as many people as you can, however, they don’t have to be people from lots of groups.
Talk to strangers. I meet new people standing in line at the bank. I recently met one woman who had similar interests in jazz. She had her husband call me to ask if I would like to be their guests at a recent jazz concert. Her husband happened to be an executive at a trade association and about a month later I was asked to be the keynote speaker at their annual meeting. This keynote had a healthy fee attached to it. You never know who you will meet.
Another distraction that I intentionally set up was someone who I like and trust and who has similar values and who I will be in constant contact with, motivating one another to do better. We brainstorm ideas together and learn from each other’s feedback. Not being in the same business is helpful too because I can get more honest feedback about new ideas, etc.
I will often vary my work schedule to hit the snooze alarm to get an hours more rest, sleep in and work later into the evening. Often getting up and hour or two earlier to get my day started sooner and, if possible, quit earlier and go to a movie. Breaking routine often give you a sense of adventure.
Keep your routine because it will make your life work for you, and break your routine when it needs to be broken. Sometimes life, energy, and creativity are found outside of your usual routine. Take a day off to evaluate that routine and shuffle it around. Give yourself permission to do anything you want with the day. Catch up with an old friend – face-to-face, not on social media. If you always check e-mail first thing in the morning… check it first thing after lunch.
Routinely break your routine. It can get your mind kickstarted in a new direction. It helps me be open to the new and different. You will be surprise at the results of what such small adjustments in your daily routine will give you. I often do what needs to be done and then call it quits to take some time out for me (that’s a difficult one for me!). However, I get inspiration from it. My creativity as a writer always gets a surge. It challenges me to go beyond my comfort zone. Often simply breaking routine helps me get more done from my to-do list.
Some of your chores, tasks, e-mail, social media posts, etc., can all wait a few hours or a day. I promise. Stepping out of your routine can provide your brain with fresh information. Like me, you will see your world differently, be refreshed and be more prepared to take on what needs to be done next.
Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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