The routine vs the grind: Which will you choose?


I’ve noticed something interesting over the past few days as we slowly take down holiday decorations and get back to work in 2016.

This year I’ve heard more people express how hard it is to get back into the swing of things starting that first Monday after New Years Day.  Yesterday was jarring, even depressing, for many.  I admit I felt some of that as well.

But at the same time I’ve heard many people express thanks for getting back into their “routine”.  We had some great visits from family the past couple weeks, but I personally will enjoy a more normal daily routine this week as well – including more quiet time at night, more dedicated time to getting things done, etc.

There are certainly things outside of our control that aren’t our favorite tasks or responsibilities.  No matter who you are, or what job you have, there’s work or roles that you don’t look forward to.

But if we hate the grind but look forward to the routine, how do we minimize the former and accentuate the latter?

What specifically were you anxious about this past weekend?  What were you NOT looking forward to heading into the first full work week of the New Year?  If you can identify those specifically, how can you minimize or eliminate them?

This may be as simple as adjusting your priorities or focus areas, or as difficult as changing jobs or careers.  But even if you’re somewhere in the middle, why not name those anxious elements and decide if they really need to be a regular part of your life?

And conversely, what specifically about “the routine” do you appreciate and look forward to?  Routine doesn’t necessarily have to equate to a “rut” either.  What are the things you get to do each day or week that gives you the most job, the most satisfaction? And how do you pivot to do more of that moving forward?

Choosing your ideal routine, our explicit chosen priorities, may very well require short-term sacrifice.  To do more of what you love may require changing your safe & comfortable routine, at least for now.  But short-term change may be worth it if you’re able to mitigate or eliminate “the grind” entirely.