Looking back, some of the best phases of my life have been when life has felt exciting, adventurous and has had an element of surprise. Emotions of hope and anticipation are what keep us on our toes and in our highest spirits, in my opinion.
Keeping this realisation as the base of this blog post, the counter-response to it is avoiding monotony in our lives.
Monotony brings with it, a sense of stagnancy and undesirable boredom.
To keep all of that in check, I have organised a list of 7 actionable ways to avoid monotony in life.
Let's dive into those, one by one!
1. Set a framework that allows for flexibility
I am a big advocate for routines, however, only those routines that allow for flexibility. Being too rigid with your daily schedule or having no scope for changes sets up a repetitive routine that leads to the feeling of monotony. Instead of following a strict hourly routine that you've planned weeks in advance, a better technique is to introduce blocks in your day.
Blocks are the broad categories of work that you have. In those blocks, you can set up tasks according to your timeline. So instead of saying that I have to do the laundry every day from 10-10.30, keep a 'chores' block in your morning. Then, you can change up the chore based on the need of the hour!
2. Do the same things but do them differently
There's nothing that gets as boring as doing the same thing in the same way, over and over again! However, there's not always the option of not doing something. They just have to be done every day! But what you can do to stop them from being monotonous is changing up the way you do them! This is the reason why I choose a different theme for my bullet journal every month. Because making my to-do lists and trackers with new colour schemes each month, breaks up the monotony of using my bullet journal every single day. Change up the music in the background while you're cooking, change up the time you do your chore, or find a new technique to fold and put your laundry away. It's these little things that keep the child in us alive!
3. Keep some unplanned time in your day
I've had days where I've planned them down to the last minute and some of them haven't felt as good as they did while I was planning them. The key I've found is balance. What I find works best is to schedule in all the 'non-negotiable' tasks of the day in your calendar. These are all the urgent deadlines you need to meet, important tasks on your to-do list for the day, any events for the day and so on. Whatever time remains, leave that unplanned! Take the day as it comes for all those hours that go unaccounted for.
If this is a technique that you feel might not work best for you, here's another approach. 'Plan' a chunk of unplanned time in your day. Let's say you're free most evenings between 7-9pm. Now instead of pre-filling this block with activities, keep it unplanned and utilise these two hours the way you wish to, each day. Maybe one day you meet up with a friend, one day you watch a movie, read a book or simply do nothing. This is what will make that day feel different to you and that's exactly what we're looking for here!
4. Notice the uniqueness in each day
Monotony surely is broken by our actions, but it is also broken because of our attitude!
When our outlook towards life is that of wonder, curiosity and gratitude, things begin to take shape in different ways. If you look closely, no two days are the same weather-wise! The days keep getting slightly shorter and longer as per the seasons, the clouds take different shapes. The amount of noise your neighbours make every day changes! What you ate for lunch yesterday was different than today (I hope). Today, the neighbourhood dogs were quieter. These little, minuscule things are what make up each day into a unique one. When we pause to look at it and start appreciating it, it strips us away from our tendency to look at life as monotonous. We instead can start to look at it as a string of unique days that flow into the next one and give us another opportunity to wonder at the mysteries of life.
5. Surround yourself with creativity
Creativity is another big factor that can shape our outlook. No two creative endeavours, however similar they might be in their form and process, are the same. Each creative project needs its own approach, its own process and takes up its unique shape. Whether you consider yourself to be creative or not, you can always immerse yourself in it. Creativity comes in many forms - a well-made movie, a gripping novel, a meal made with love, even a thought-provoking Instagram caption. There are innumerous ways for you to surround yourself with creativity. When we indulge in these varied forms, we find our lives more colourful and less grey with monotony.
6. Keep a list of ALL the things you want to do
I personally love this one. My brain functions in a permanent state of creative overwhelm and that is because it's physically impossible for me to be working on all the projects my brain is conjuring up. What I do to combat this is that I make a loooooong list of all the things I want to do. And this doesn't just stop at work things. It can get as varied as reorganising my wardrobe, pitching a collab idea to an internet friend, remembering to share about the small business I recently shopped from, starting a new Instagram stories series, so on and so forth! You get the idea.
This list solves two of my problems:
It clears up precious storage space in my brain so that I can actually use it to think.
It gives me ideas of things to do when my days begin to feel dusty and monotonous!
After all, what is more exciting than starting something new?!
7. Connect to different sorts of people!
People, I feel, add the most vibrance to our lives. That is because every individual is made of up so many peculiarities and temperaments. It's such an endearing thought that every person is unique and has something different to bring to the table.
Connecting to different sorts of people can help you bring variety to your days and kick monotony out the door. Now, it's not imperative to meet people every day and I know that (I see you, fellow introvert!), but there are various ways in which you can connect to people on a regular basis.
First of all, look at the existing people in your life. You'll probably find a good variety right there! With time, we connect with people from all chapters of our life and each one brings their unique character to the picture. Apart from meeting them or talking to them, share stuff with them. Two brains sharing ideas, inspiration or even memes drive monotony out of the picture!
Secondly, there's indirect connection. Listening, reading or watching content made by humans beings you admire or seem to click with can leave you feeling a lot better about your day.
As I said, people always end up bringing vibrance to our lives. So, make the most of it!
These were my two cents on avoiding monotony in life! However, I'd like to leave you with another thought:
Although avoiding monotony and trying to keep our lives interesting is something that we can generally work towards, it's also okay to let life get monotonous and boring every once in a while. It's in the aftermath of boredom that our brains find the space to be their most creative self!
That's exactly how this blog post came to fruition!
So with that final thought, this is the end of this blog post. I also made a video on this that summarises all of these points. You can watch it below!
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