Driving a car….. after the initial period of learning and the excitement of getting your licence it becomes a fairly routine activity. As part of my move to Canada, I am now having to get used to driving on the wrong (ie right) hand side of the road. Its not too hard to adjust, but it is necessary to pay extra attention so I don’t suddenly find myself on course for a head-on collision.
1. Use Your Non-Preferred Hand
Brushing your teeth, using the TV remote, lifting an object, writing your name…. these are all fairly routine activities that can be made somewhat interesting by challenging yourself to use your non-preferred hand.
2. Focus on Details
Imagine yourself as an artist who is viewing something that you will want to paint later. Suddenly you really start to notice subtle details that are usually missed, eg a person’s eye color, the shadow an object makes or the different shades of blue in the sky.
3. Try to Improve Your Efficiency
If you are bored doing a routine activity or task ask yourself the following question: how could I be doing this more efficiently? That is, it there a better, faster or easier way in which the activity or task can be completed? Personally, I have found that going through my inbox in the morning is often fairly routine. After asking myself how I could make the process of checking my new email more efficient, I discovered the benefits of using filters on my gmail account.
4. Take a Different Route
Many of us spend a lot of time each day going to and from work. If possible, why not take a slightly different route. The mind loves a change of scenery (even if it is only temporary).
5. Strike Up a Random Conversation
How much time do you spend waiting in lifts, at the bus stop, or in the checkout line at the shops staring off into space?. One thing I have noticed since becoming a dad and going out in public with a baby is how it is possible to have numerous random conversations with strangers. Nothing too meaningful, of course, but it feels great to make a human connection. And no, I’m not suggesting you rush out and have a kid so that you have a topic to talk about. A simple observation is normally all that is needed to get the conversation started.
6. Make a Game Of It
Why not spice up an everyday task by making a game of it? If you do a task everyday, time yourself and then see if you can beat the clock. Sometimes when checking the spam in my email account (just to be sure I didn’t miss anything) I try to guess how many penis enlargements, viagra pills, or opportunities to get rich I will receive. Yes… I’m a bit strange.
Once again the trip to and from work comes to mind as time that could often be made more interesting and productive. As someone who uses public transport, I constantly observe the blank look on peoples’ faces as they stare at nothing in particular. Why not spend this time learning something by reading or listening to an audiobook/ podcast?
8. Plan the Future
Many routine activities can be done with little to no thought involved. So why not think of something more interesting like the future? The other day I was washing the car, but my mind was thinking about the interesting, satisfying, and high paying job I want to find. I then set about creating a “to do” list in my mind. I need to update my resume, organize my referees, find some new business shirts and ties, etc….. the car was clean before I knew it :) .