Ok, that last bit’s a stretch but the web is full of promises that push it.

Earlier this week my husband was up the coast visiting his father. When he travels, our daily the routine gets a little loose.

While I’m generally a big fan of routine (I’m the woman with the weekly mealplanner, remember) sometimes it’s good to shake things up a little.

For instance, when my husband’s away,

  1. I don’t shop. I just cook whatever’s in the fridge.
  2. I leave the geyser on.
  3. I change the furniture around a bit.
  4. I sometimes forget to water the plants with the bucket that catches excess shower water.
  5. I eat popcorn for supper.
  6. I use my husband’s iMac to watch a movie while I eat popcorn for supper.
  7. I walk around in my socks.
  8. I track stuck popcorn around the house on the underside of my socks.
  9. I hang my towel on the railing over the stairs. Not out in the sun.
  10. When I go to bed I turn out the light. No airplane sleeping goggle thingies for me.
  11. I don’t dive for the morning alarm before it wakes my loved one.
  12. I put my husband’s bicycle in the garage so that I don’t have to balance it against my leg every time I open the blinds.
  13. I wash the dishes. A lot.

Here’s the lesson,

  1. Letting go of routine allows you to shift into a different state of being, which coaxes your brain into thinking more creatively. Whether it’s by switching up your apps, exploring how others get their work done, or changing the furniture around, you encourage the brain to make new connections.
  1. Mindless tasks – like running long distances, pulling out weeds or washing the dishes – also trigger creative brain waves. Researchers have long been telling us that if we’re stumped, to take a break and allow the unconscious process to unfold.
  1. Improvisation shuts down the prefrontal cortex of the brain and allows you to take more risks. Jazz musicians, illustrators and cartoonists are famous for this. My children are stoic beneficiaries of my let’s-cook-whatever-is-in-the-fridge improv technique.

Finally, I find my mind is more open to opportunities because I’m not concentrating on the shoulda-coulda-wouldas that a daily routine demands.

What about you?

  1. Where do you get your creative inspiration?
  2. What do you do when your spouse goes away? (no secrets please)