Why it’s important to switch up your work routine

Switching up your work routine

//Photo Taken By Christina Slaton//

Last week I took a trip back to the beautiful city of Chicago. Yes I made it a whole six weeks in Austin before I was chomping at the bit to be reunited with my best friends. Are you proud of me?

However hanging out with my girlfriends was actually the added bonus of my actual reason for going back to Chicago for the week. Before I moved I had promised myself I would attend Chicago Ideas Week, a week long series of events, talks, labs, and conversations featuring Chicago’s most influential movers and shakers. My incredibly talented friend Mel also happens to be the Labs Director and HBIC (Head B*tch In Charge) for Chicago Ideas and recruited me to help her out at a few events.

So I thought, work for my best friend for the week? Hell yes.

So what does this all have to do with switching up your work routine?

Well, last week I allowed myself to do some things outside of my typical work routine. I allowed myself to take a few breaks from answering emails and dedicate whole chunks of time to things that were NOT my day job. I allowed myself to look up from my computer and actually do and create things with my hands. I allowed myself to get off the phone and do something most people take for granted…talk to people in real life.

And what I realized as I looked around at the Chicago Ideas Week events was, EVERYONE “taking a break”. Everyone was doing something creative outside their daily job. They were touring Chicago food trucks, building chairs from scraps of wood, sitting in on conversations between policy makers, learning how to code. They were, like me, breaking up their work routine.

And then I realized how incredibly important these “breaks” were. Especially to the hustling young professionals out there. Your work, no matter how stimulating it may be, or how passionate you are about it, can become monotonous day after day. Switching up your routine can actually help re-energize you or make you more productive.

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//Playing “client” with the brilliant minds at 555 International//


//Tasting wine with Peju Winery at Chicago’s Virgin Hotel//

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//Building websites in less than two hours with General Assembly//

Not only that, but think about that project at work you’ve been working day and night on. Now think about stepping away for a moment (or two!), focusing your brain on something completely different, and perhaps gaining a new perspective. Do you thik you’d come  back to that project more energized and motivated? Do you think by breaking up your routine you may actually provide more value to the company you work for?

Yea me too.

Now don’t confuse my use of the word “break” with a vacation or mental-health day (which are also necessary, but that’s another post for another time!). When I say break, I’m talking about incorporating activities into your work routine that may not be directly related to what you do everyday.

So what do I mean by this? I recognize that I broke my work routine to volunteer at and attend a week-long festival in Chicago, and not everyone has the time or freedom to do that. So consider this:

  • Start a passion project on the side and committing a little time to it every week.
  • Volunteer for local non-profits.
  • Take a course to learn a new skill.
  • Join a professional organization that meets regularly in your field.
  • Join a professional organization that meets regularly  NOT in your field.
  • That [insert crafty thing you do at home you think no one cares about], dedicate time each week to doing that.
  • Attend a conference or panel on something you’re interested outside of your industry.
  • Plan a party – I know this sounds a little silly, but party planning is actually extremely satisfying and believe it or not, is a great exercise in perfecting traditional transferable skills (i.e. budgeting, organizing timelines, coordinating vendors, writing emails, etc.)

…Just to name a few!

I’ll leave it at that, it sounds to me like everyone has some routine breaking to do! Shout out to the incredible Chicago Ideas Week volunteers I worked with last week for inspiring this much needed post! Thanks for taking a “break” being and creative with me.


How are you breaking up your work routine? Share your #secret with me in the comments below!