Groundhog Day - How to break the 9-5 rut

Do you ever get the feeling that you've lived this day before? Not quite deja vu, but a deja vu lite where the only thing that seems to change is the date on the calendar.

The 9-5 lifestyle often gives way to a groundhog day rut where the weekdays run as predictably slow as the minute hand on the office clock. Now while I'm sure most of us yearn for a career of unforeseeable whimsy, few of us are capable of breaking the repetitive work cycle with typical Bill Murray aplomb; not unless you've already read this article today.or yesterday.or whatever day this is.

Leave your comfort zone

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all" but it seems all this may have been forgotten in our need for job stability and a regular Netflix subscription. The early 1900s introduced us to our 'comfort zones,' that safe state of mind that protects us from the strains and struggles of the daily grind. Now while this cerebral shelter may be great for getting through the work day with minimal effort, it can occasionally take the life out of.well.life.


Stepping out of our comfort zones is the abstract equivalent of leaving our beds on a cold winter's morning (no wonder it's so difficult then!) but we all know that it's those who bite the bullet and throw the covers off, are the ones that make something of the day. By no means am I suggesting that you start jumping through flaming hoops, but taking a few calculated risks or making the odd impulsive decision will undoubtedly break the mundane and give rise to opportunities.  

Explore flexitime

Sometimes the biggest barrier to a break of routine is your environment and if you find yourself forever shackled to your office desk, it can be easy to forget that there's life outside of the office walls. If you're work-life balance is decidedly one sided, exploring the notion of flexitime can provide the invigorating effects that were once only supplied by your Herbal Essences shampoo.  


Flexitime works under the conditions that an employee has to complete a set number of hours a week, but where and when these hours are spent is completely at the whim of the worker. Now while this might sound like something only reserved for Richard Branson's workforce, SMEs and large corporations alike are increasingly recognising the benefits that this schedule can bring. Studies have suggested that this flexible approach to work can improve job satisfaction and productivity, so if you think that your current surroundings are hampering your creativity, perhaps discussing flextime with your employer could reinject some spark into life.

Make the most of your lunch break

Oh lunchtime; that sweet hour long reprieve that bridges the transition from the post Berocca slump to the pre-commute countdown. Though we all look forward to this invaluable break from responsibilities, few us make little more use of it than eating a £3 meal deal whilst sat playing Candy Crush and ogling the new intern. Now did you know that in a minute, a hummingbird flaps it's wings nearly 4000 times? If that's the case, imagine what you could do in one turn of the hour glass.


Lunchtime is your time and so much more could be made of it than eating the same predictable food in the same office chair. Go for a walk? Release some exercise generated endorphins? Or just lie in the grass and daydream? Forgetting your shirt and tie persona for just an hour will make a vast difference to both your job productivity and your daily outlook.

Disconnect and power down

If your smartphone was really worthy of it's title, Siri would tell you to turn off the all consuming gadget and give your brain (and thumbs) a rest. Though 24/7 connectivity might be seen as digital progress by the smart device devotees, you shouldn't believe everything that's said by Kevin Bacon.


Kevin Bacon was the face for EE's 4G network. Network is what you can't help but do with constant connectivity. Connectivity leads to wasted time. Time spent behind a screen is just crazy. Crazy, Stupid, Love was a 2012 film featuring.Kevin Bacon. Hmm, maybe there's something in this whole connected universe thingy?


The rise of smart devices has seen a fall in real life escapism as our brains are always 'on' but not in a way that creates positive results. Finishing an eight hour day behind a computer and then adding further insult to your square eyes with incessant emails and video meetings, isn't exactly conducive to a break. So maybe it's time to recharge your batteries while your phone does the same. Who knows, you might even get bored.

Take the day off

That's right, I'm that truant encouraging bad influence that your mother always warned you about. Okay, so I'm not seriously recommending that you put your career in jeopardy all for the sake of a few hours of hooky induced serenity, but it's true that a day off (with permission) could be just what the rat race runner ordered.  


So much of our time seems to be split between work, tedious errands and even more tedious TV, so maybe we should start seizing the day a little more. When was the last time you went to the theatre? Or out for lunch? What was the last great novel you read? Or adventure you went on? If the work routine is grinding you down, there's no better way to combat it than not doing it at all.


So, do you ever get the feeling that you've lived this day before? Not quite deja vu, but...