Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up, I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream”
~ The Beatles, A Day in the Life
Do these lyrics describe a routine? Or is this person in a rut?
It’s a fine line. Many people cross the line without realizing it.
Routines help you do all that you do more efficiently. Ruts impede your effectiveness.
Routines are processes
In your small business, you probably have certain processes. These processes are in place because you’ve found they are the fastest way to complete a task, given the expected standards.
Routines are the equivalent in your personal life.
You probably shower without even thinking about it. In essence, you’ve reached a flow state.
It’s automatic. You can multi-task effectively – plan your day while you clean up, for example.
Ruts start as routines
In your small business, you don’t develop a process and forget it. You constantly look for ways to improve it using feedback from both internal and external sources.
A rut starts out as a routine. The routine turns into a rut because we don’t seek feedback.
We stop looking for ways to improve it. We just do the same old thing, day after day, month after month, year after year.
Dr. Peter Laurence said, “A rut is a grave with the ends knocked out.” It’s a slow death.
Put life into your process
Once you understand that ruts start as routines, you can get out of a rut more easily. Put some life back into the process:
Think about a seemingly insignificant routine that’s turned into a rut. For example, if you commute, to what do you listen on the drive to work?
Think about alternatives
Instead of music, listen to talk. Instead of talk, listen to an informational podcast, like The BIGG Success Show.
Get feedback from others
Ask others what they listen to while they drive. Expand your quest beyond your inner circle.
Try on different things. Maybe the first podcast won’t tickle your fancy. Don’t eliminate podcasts in general; try another one in that genre. If it’s still not your cup of tea, try a different genre.
This is the goal, right? Evaluate your progress. Is your new routine helping you grow? If not, change it up again. If so, keep going.
Just remember – transformation isn’t an event. It’s a living process.
Image in this post from kovik.