99% of yesterday was a typical day. I hit my writing and research objectives—everything I needed for a workday. But at three o’clock, I looked up, looked down, then realized…
I’m still naked!
It’s not like I have a nude-Tuesday routine. … But that minor variation in my workday was enough to make everything I did just a little bit more interesting—it shook me out of my business-as-usual perspective, and made me more present to my work.
When you make a living as a creative, as many of you reading this do, that 1% can mean better work and bigger paychecks. That’s been the case for me.
Take this article, for instance. I’m only half naked as of writing this, outside, listening to the spring chimes and Cake’s version of I Will Survive. That’s pretty standard. But usually I’d be storming the keyboard at 9:00am. Currently, it’s 4:48pm, MST.
I’m fresh back from a beach volleyball tournament that lasted from 9:00 am to 3:00. And I’m relaxed because I’ve screamed like an ape—“You go, you go—Line, Line!—angle angle ANGLE!”—I’ve burned approximately 3,000 calories while pushing my body to the absolute max—I’ve spent quality time with my guys. And now that I’m back home, I find myself as inspired to do my job as I ever am. It’s because I’m most inspired when I mix it up.
In my first couple years of freelancing, I knew that I couldn’t stick to a SSDD routine. That’s just not who I am. But before I got disciplined in diversifying my routine, I’d just wait for inspiration to hit. Sometimes I’d go a couple days without writing; sometimes I’d go a couple weeks. And I hardly made any money, because I hadn’t found a way to stay consistent. I didn’t know that I could be consistently varied.
Other Fun Ways to Shake Up The Mundane
Aside from being nude and beach volleyball—never at the same time, lest you get any ideas—I find smaller ways to spice up my routine. Sometimes I’ll write my first article in bed. That’s not insane. But after I finish it, I realize that I made $500 bucks in bed. That’s pretty damn cool. And it stimulates my brain in a different way than hunching over my desk would.
Other times I’ll get dressed up even when I should really be naked on Tuesday. (Since I’m more comfortable with you, I’ll admit it—I’m a regular devotee to nude Tuesday. Nothing to be ashamed of.) I’m not crawling out of my cave for anything; there’s no call for starched and ironed suits. But it’s like little kids playing dress up: fancy clothes are different. They’re fun. And that little external tweak triggers the creative spark I’m always looking for.
Many people are okay with executing their days in surgical fashion. They’re not bothered by sterile routines, because that’s their comfort zone. But, if your comfort zone is a little on the wild side, like mine is, you might want to take your clothes off. (Not now, weirdo!) Create a Brazilian jazz-clarinet playlist instead of your usual hootie and the blowfish. No one’s judging. Then get a Brazilian wax.
It’s the novelty within the mundane that does the trick. So find any way you can to make business unusual.
Here’s a list that everyone who works from home can shake up their routines with:
Normally you go to work and then get off and have fun. So reverse that order—like eating dessert first. It’s not unhealthy. And if you have the discipline to start work after hours and hours of fun, you’ll get just as much accomplished. When you factor in your newly creative brain, your time will be worth even more.
So go for a hike in the mountains,
Go paddle boarding on a lake or river,
Rent a goddamn Ferrari—or just find a go-cart track,
Find some peeps to play pickup basketball with one day a week,
Visit a trampoline park and do backflips off of walls,
Or, for the milder folk, play some croquet. In ‘ze nude.
2-Invert your usual work order
No explanation needed.
3-Go to bed super late, or super early
Every so-called performance expert has one sacrosanct rule: wake up before God. But I think that’s bullshit. Because some of my most productive days have come after going to bed at 5:00am and waking up at noon, or…gasp…even later. It’s fun to be starting your first project when everyone else is coming back from lunch. And if you work hard and work late, it doesn’t set you back in the least; you accomplish just as much.
Alternatively, wake up before the evil creatures who wake up before God. I’m talking 4:00 am. Get your whole day done before the Suzy and Scotts of the work world have had their seventh sip of their second cup of coffee.
*It goes without saying that you should have a normal waking schedule—your circadian rhythm impacts your hormones and stress levels, and your overall health. But the odd early-or-late wakeup, as I’m sure our ancestors experienced regularly, can do no harm.
Laughter is creative medicine. When I find myself in a work-rut, I’ll cue up Key and Peele, Flight of the Conchords, or some of my favorite SNL skits from the 90s. I’m immediately in a higher frame of mind. And the belly laughs give some much needed relief to an otherwise tense day.
Whether it’s birthday suits, leisure suits, onesie pajamas, irish kilts, robes, kimonos, or crazy socks—you know the kind, with the rainbow stripes and toe holes—there’s no faster way to hack the norm than by changing your clothes. It’s like when people put something on and say, “I feel like a million bucks!” Except you’ll just feel like a creative genius.