How to Get Out of a Rut in Life

Even since before Thanksgiving, I’ve felt myself in a bit of a rut. My schedule has pretty much stayed the same since I started this new job back in June. I get up just before 5 AM to feed the cats, I go through my morning routine, I drive my hour to work, I drive my hour home, I sometimes eat dinner, and I head to bed. It’s the same thing every weekday.

Okay, obviously there are things to do mixed in there, but I’ve clearly fallen into a rut and it’s starting to take it’s toll. Why would I try to get out when I have a system that works? Sometimes it’s hard to change when you’ve found a perceived rhythm, but a little variety can do some good. Here are some of the things I’ve started doing to try to get out of my rut.

Write an article before I leave for work

What better way to get out of a rut than a good writing challenge in the morning? It’s creative, constrained, and writing is my passion. Between 5 and 6 AM, I’m getting ready, eating breakfast, and starting my water intake (#healthgoals), so why not add an extra little challenge with all that time?

In the past, I would use my eating time to sit and read for fun, but now I use that time for research. Once I’m done eating, it’s time to write. It’s a great challenge because it forces me to pick a topic, keeps the research constrained (analysis paralysis avoided), and I just get to write out my thoughts. I can either do a quick edit if I have time or I can wait until later to review and post the article.

Reduce my obsession with perfectionism

Honestly, the writing challenge has been good for this. I’ve started it this week and found that while my articles are far from perfect, I can accept them because they are still good and I can get them out in a short amount of time. Instead of obsessing over every little detail, making sure I cover all the topics and report all the information, or even starting from scratch when I get frustrated, I take a breath and appreciate the work I’ve completed. Nothing will ever be entirely perfect, but I’m sharing my opinion, advice, and doing my best to provide value from a flawed human perspective.

Take time in the moment

I have two cats who are the whole world to me. In the mornings after they eat, they know my schedule takes me away for the day so they take advantage of my time at home with cuddles. While they still have tactics to keep me around petting them for a little longer in the mornings, I’ve made an effort to pay attention to them more. Even when I get home, I take ten to fifteen minutes to sit and play with them before I start doing other things around the apartment. And they always look forward to writing time because I sit still long enough for them to fall asleep.

There’s nothing more calming and relaxing than one purring cat in your lap and the other sitting next to your computer fan head butting your hand every time your fingers get close to their face. It’s just little moments of mindfulness that really change my outlook on the day. Writing and cats? Heaven.

Fill spaces with things that bring me joy

Alright, I kind cringe around using the term joy and mindfulness in the sense that the Kon Mari method has kind of been commercialized and overused, but filling the little moments with things I enjoy has helped me get through the day. Minimalism is about filling space with the things that bring you value. In the past, I’ve used my breaks to scroll through social media or just not take a break, of which neither brought me any value or joy. Now, I’m bringing a book to work in which I can read a quick chapter in that time, I have a backlog of valuable articles so I can learn something quickly, and I make sure I take a lap around the inside of the office (it’s cold outside) so that I get up and moving every hour.

The list isn’t crazy long because I don’t want to completely overwhelm myself. It has only been a week, but I’m finding a little more of my focus back during the work day. I’m stretching my creative muscles, being mindful, and taking the time to do things I love throughout my day. Switching up my routine and trying new things has helped me get out of my rut, and hopefully it can help you too.

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