Coming Home To Clarity
I can’t remember when I’ve looked forward to a vacation more. A whole week off with time in the big city and on the beach. Last week’s whirlwind visit with friends and family in New York and New England was a long overdue reunion with people and places we love. It was also a welcome break from the frenetic, day-to-day pace of operating a business, a chance to step off the merry-go-round for a bit, to recharge and re-connect.
It was only on the long drive home that I began to realize just how much I missed the routines I’d been so eager to escape. There’s a kind of comfort and security that comes with repetition, and as much as I like to think of myself as a free spirit, I’m more a creature of habit than I care to admit. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“Routine basically gives us the mental freedom to think about what’s actually important,” Duhigg says. “That way we don’t have to think about all the mundane aspects of life. Getting to relegate all those things to sort of an automatic thought process, we gain all the mental bandwidth we need to do the really important things in life.”
Any vacation or break from work is a good time to reflect and assess those habits that make up our daily routine. Are they all “good” habits? Are they serving you well? Could you stand to make some adjustments? Duhigg takes a diagnostic approach, breaking habits down to get to the “why” at the center of a repetitious routine. By analyzing some of his own “bad” habits, he’s found ways to head them off before they turn into harmful routines.
“There’s a huge correlation between thinking very deliberately about (creating) the right habits in your life and developing successful habits,” he says.
I know how fortunate I am to be working at something I truly love to do. But, even with that “I love my job” enthusiasm, getting the work done day after day can start to seem like an endless, repetitive grind. It’s important to stop now and then, take an objective look at your daily routine, and get some clarity as to which habits could be eliminated or improved upon.
Driving down my street and seeing my house for the first time after a week away, I experienced a kind of clarity that was anything but routine, grateful to be coming home to my own, personal daily grind.