Spontaneity is something that many, many people don’t like. Why? Because they equate spontaneity with surprises, and nobody likes surprises while they’re doing their job. This rings true for CEO’s to Stay-at-home Moms. Routines are what we productive people crave! But we can learn a thing or two from being a tad more spontaneous, especially while we’re working.
Being open to change can be a good thing. Being spontaneous as a person is defined as:
“Spontaneous- Of a person having an open, natural, and uninhibited manner”
Oooh. I like the sound of that. That sounds more like a Buddhist monk meditating than teens diving into a Volkswagen van for an un-planned road trip. Being spontaneous can give you some relaxed and uninhabited qualities, because no matter what happens next, you can deal with it. This is an incredible trait to have in life.
Aside from the whole mind-like-water mentality, spontaneity has some other added benefits:
- Keeps your mind sharp as a tack. Yep, if you sprinkle in a few daily doses of impulsive activities, your mind is sure to be on top of its game. Having unknowns in your schedule and being OK with that can force you to really focus on what’s at hand.
- Less Stress. Let’s face it: The better you are at coping with unknown situations, the less stress you’ll accrue throughout the day.
- Gets you out of the dooldrums. Feeling like the only exciting part of your day is having another glass of OJ with your bran in the morning? Do something completely unexpected. Shake things up a bit. Blow off work, if you need to. The spur-of-the-moment has a strange ability to lift a funk.
Like any good quality or reflex, spontaneity has to be practiced before it can truly become useful. There are lots of variables in our every day life that we can’t control. The power going out. Snagging a nasty cold. The neighbors dog barking all. day. long. We won’t able to give up control of these unknowns, but learning to be a little more flexible sure can help your outlook. That’s where being spontaneous can really help us. It conditions us to relax.
Here are some tips to adding spontaneity to your work day.
- Draw boundaries. Above all, your work has to be done. While not paying bills can throw a little spontaneity on your credit score, it may not give the result we’re looking for.
- A little can go a long way. We’re not looking for a buy-a-camero-for-my-mid-life-crisis type of change. We’re only taking an ordinary piece of the day and giving it a twist. Try working at a coffee shop instead of the office. Making a fun dinner. Start a small, manageable project that you’ve always wanted to do. Anything to spice up your work routine, or even the rest of your life.
- Pencil it in. While this seems like it goes against everything spontaneous, it helps to add a little control to it. Give yourself time every day to be a little impulsive. Set aside a chunk of time each day to do whatever you want. This same principle can work for planning your breaks and working out of rest.
- Be naughty. It’s ok to have a little fun and break the “rules” sometimes. Skip class, watch too much TV, eat too much chocolate. It’s OK to overindulge every now and again. For crying out loud, health guru Tim Ferriss pigs out once a week and it helps him lose weight.
- Look for inspiration. If you’re needing a boost of creativity to really be spontaneous, just look around for inspiration. There are some other incredible blogs that can provide some motivation, but my favorite is the Improv Everywhere blog. It’s an organization of people who plan spontaneous events, like 111 men shopping shirtless in Abercrombie and Fitch in New York. Priceless. (This probably falls under the “be naughty” category as well.)
If one can practice disciplined spontaneity, they will start to see the benefits of being a more flexible person in general. It’s like my dad always said:
Don’t sweat the petty stuff, and don’t pet the sweaty stuff.