By Ofer Prossner, VP Operations, IOD
My wife and I recently celebrated four years of marriage (seven years of being together.) I can honestly say that those seven years have been the best of my life. There were ups and downs, certainly; we sometimes fight as any couple does. That said, we are still very much in love and we both enjoy spending time with the other.
But there has been one issue that has literally kept my wife awake at nights; one I am to blame for: I snore. I am quite the snorer, apparently. I can’t hear my own snoring, but there was one time I woke up from what sounded like an explosion outside and asked my wife if she heard the explosion sound, too. Her response came with a sigh, “No, that was you snoring.”
That’s when I decided to go have a sleeping exam done. For those of you who don’t know, sleeping exams are performed either at home or in a sleeping lab, and you have some what-cha-ma-callit connected to you and a finger device and then you go to sleep with those on. The gadgets tell the doctors something about your sleep behavior. Once that information is gathered they can diagnose and suggest treatment, For me, it revealed I stop breathing in my sleep 29.2 times on an average hour, and while that supposedly is not life threatening, it’s certainly not healthy. The doctors recommended I lose weight, and return for a check-up in six months.
This was a … dare I say … wake up call. I want to live into old age with my wife, who, as you might have noticed, I like quite a lot. So I got started on weight loss plan.
Which bring me to today’s topic: routines and when we know it’s time to change them.
It was Brazilian writer Paolo Coelho who said:
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal.”
A lot of us are stuck in a rut: the Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, same-old-same-old way of life. It’s true this routine is not always a choice: we have to pay for housing, transportation, food, and various other necessities for our family members. But are we paying enough attention to ourselves?
I didn’t. Yes, I had a lot of fun, and for the last ten years, lived life pretty loosely. But that loose routine turned out to be unhealthy in a lot of ways. I didn’t look after my physical health.
How to Get Out of Your Routine
This brings me to IOD, and my daily work with freelancers, most of whom have a day job (and a demanding one at that.)
Sometimes I will ask one of them, “Why?” Why do you take on this extra workload when you already have a high-pressure, high-demand position?” Personally, I wouldn’t want another job. When I get home, I just want to rest, watch TV, and snuggle up with my wife.
But our tech experts tell me that they want to learn more, want to research more, and want to achieve more in their careers. Researching and writing for IOD keeps their minds fresh, many of them say. And, it keeps their routine very un-routine-like. Contemplating this while I am in the process of changing my way of life has brought me to the realization that the opposite of routine is a blend of “more” and “different.”
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More. Above and beyond the basics, our minds, bodies, and souls consistently need enrichment: This “more” can take various forms, as long as it goes above and beyond what you are doing in the every-day. For instance, more can be trying exotic food, attending sports events, hiking in the woods, or it can be quenching a thirst for knowledge. It’s something that literally or figuratively gets you up and out of your comfort zone.
Take G for example. G was an analyst for years covering technology, mostly security. He had to deeply study these tech companies and products and know the market trends. At one point, he decided to move from the consultancy where he was to being a solutions architect somewhere else. His new job was a good one and enjoyable, he told me, but something was missing.
He said he missed the part where you get assigned something new, and you dive into it, study it from all angles, and write about it. He missed that feeling of turning the unknown into a known. In his new position, that opportunity wasn’t available to him.
As for different, take J. This guy had it all — a big shot professor who also had a position with a very successful company. As someone with a background in education, he wrote a lot of academic articles. He knew how to produce there. But despite his experience in writing serious academic pieces, he was not confident at all in writing informal articles, like blogs, for example. He knew this was a challenge he should take on because it was different than what he was doing during the day, and likely it would challenge him. It had been a while since he felt challenged.
Both G and J had routines, ones they were reasonably satisfied and comfortable with, and yet they were looking to complement them. They discovered they could do it at IOD, since working with us provided them the small addition to life they felt they needed, without taking too much from them.
Reset Your Life At Any Moment … Like Now
How to supplement my routine life with “more” and “different” is a lesson I have slowly already been learning at IOD. But it took a snore-explosion-kick-in-the-butt for me to really see it. Don’t just wait for something to happen — something good or bad — but rather take action and implement the “more” and “different” before the doctors prescribe it. Sure, my life change started with a snore, but yours doesn’t have to. Yours can start now.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to eat a nice tasty salad with my wife.