Sunday, August 18, 2013

Monotony Is Softly Killing My Creativity

You feel trapped in your daily routine. You are tired of doing the same things, meeting the same people, visiting the same places, listening to the same life stories... day in, day out. Eventually this dullness of your everyday reality starts to affect your creative thinking. Suddenly you realise that you have a new best friend - Monotony.

Pink paper gitaffe went hiking in the mountains
Pink Giraffe decided to battle monotony and went hiking in the mountains.
 
I know that what I am about to tell you will not offer big consolation, but there are times in our lives when we are all friends with Monotony. She is like those people who you do not meet for ages and then suddenly you start bumping into them everywhere you go. Sometimes it becomes so frustrating that you start to feel pursued. 

Monotony is defined as lack of variety. It is also manifested as uniformity in form or colour, or as sameness of tone, scenery, occupation, etc. Prolonged feeling of monotony can lead to depression and frustration with one's own life.

Monotony can influence your emotions and way of thinking in various ways but I am going to focus on its effect on creative thinking.

Monotony reinforces old mental connections that lead our thinking along standard thinking paths.
Result: Inability to create new and interesting ideas.

Monotony prevents our mind from noticing external stimuli which induce our mind to make new combinations and create new ideas.
Result: Creative block.

Long spells of monotony lead to constant boredom, depression, lethargy... states that drain oneself from life energy. 
 
Result: Lack of desire to create or to be creative - dormant creativity.

Good news is that monotony can easily be broken by making some simple changes in your everyday routine and by introducing some new activities into your life. Now, I am not an expert in curing monotony but I have compiled a list of the things that you can try out. These things are proven and they work for me and my friends.

Breaking the monotony at work


Redesign your working space: tidy, declutter, get new folders, mouse pad, table lamp, shelves, plants...
Change the way you go to your office: take a new route, change the means of transport (e.g. if you go by car, take a bus, train or bike), walk all the way or part of the way.
Make short breaks while working: go out for a coffee, sit in the park and listen to your favourite music, read a book.
Have a coffee break with the colleagues you do not normally go to breaks with.
Ask to join a new project, volunteer to help a co-worker, ask your boss to enroll you to a training course.

Breaking the monotony in marriage


Start dating your partner again.
Take 20 minutes every day to talk with your partner about all kinds of things (be present, do not just talk but listen as well).
Do things together with your partner: cook, exercise, take classes together...
Take the TV out of your bedroom.

Breaking the monotony in life in general


Be present. Spot and observe things happening. There are so many interesting things going on all around you that you miss noticing.
Exercise - walk, jog, swim...
Enjoy art - go to theatre, exhibition, museum...
Travel - go on a weekend trip, or one day trip or even an afternoon excursion to the countryside.
Learn new skills or language, sign in for an interesting course;
Spend more time with your friends, contact some friends you have not seen for ages and arrange to meet with them.
Meet new people: attend conferences, interesting events, new places...
Play with the kids (if you do not have kids of your own, you can borrow somebody else's), make toys together.
Do voluntary work, engage in a cause that makes sense to you.

The ultimate advice for annihilating monotony:


Start a personal project - dream, create new ideas, execute them, watch them become alive... Your new project may open new business opportunities for you or you may create a completely new lifestyle while pursuing your personal passions.

It is always hard to make the first step. If necessary force yourself to move on and do at least one thing from this list. You will feel instant relief and the more active you become, the less monotony you will feel.

This list is far from being complete - there are infinite ways in which you can make your life more interesting. If you have a suggestion of your own, feel free to contribute.



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If you wish to further explore this topic, you can check out the selection of my favourite books about creative thinking.

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