Much of adult life can feel the same, day after day. We have our routines, which can be wise. Smart routines make good choices automatic. But some routines can become ruts. Time slips, unnoticed, into the past.
Memories tend to form when we experience novelty or intensity. That’s why I suggest planning little adventures into life. What makes this day — or at least this week — stand out from any other time?
In the Tranquility by Tuesday project (the basis for my next book, out in 2022!) I shared the time management rule to plan “One big adventure, one little adventure” into each week. A few folks struggled to come up, immediately, with doable adventures. Blame lockdowns, small kids — there are plenty of reasons. But as people reflected on this, a number came to this conclusion: there are benefits to recasting something you are already doing as an adventure.
For instance, let’s say you order dinner in on Wednesdays. Or you meet a friend for a walk every Friday morning. You tend to take the kids to a playground on Saturday mornings while your partner sleeps in and gets some me time (and she/he reciprocates on Sundays).
With a little thought, any of these routines can turn into little adventures. Maybe some Wednesdays you try a new cuisine — or at least order something extra and special from your favorite places (have you ever tried one of those less-commonly ordered rolls down on the bottom of the sushi place menu?). Go on a quest to find the best take-out lasagna in your city — ordered from a different Italian restaurant each Wednesday. Or try eating off the “good china,” or on a picnic blanket in a new corner of the backyard.
That walk with the friend on Friday morning is always a little different since you’ll talk about different things. With the right mindset — maybe even intentionally brainstorming some conversation topics beforehand — this could be an adventure right there (vulnerability is memorable!) But you could also come up with a list of different neighborhoods where you’d like to walk for your standard 45 minutes, or different trails nearby you could try. You might decide to stretch it to an hour and tag on a stop at a new coffee shop afterwards.
The Saturday morning playground trip can likewise be recast as an adventure. Work your way through a list of local parks and playgrounds. Invite a new family to join you. Try something different (parking a few blocks away and scootering there?) Tack on a stop somewhere interesting once your usual playground time is done (aquarium store, seeing a construction site with lots of big equipment…).
The point is to make something you’re already doing slightly more memorable, or to see how it might already be memorable as you think about it intentionally. When we decide that something is an official “little adventure” we treat it more seriously. We put a little more thought into it, and as we think of it as an adventure, we notice more.
That’s how today has yielded a “little adventure” for my daughter. She likes to familiarize herself with the upcoming days’ lunch menus at school. She knew today would feature French toast sticks. Then we realized that since Wednesday is also our breakfast-for-dinner day, she would be eating three breakfasts (including the normal morning time one). This realization was pretty exciting, and so now she is noting each meal, and paying attention to the different manifestations of breakfast food. This is nothing different from what was already happening, but deciding it is an adventure can make a day stand out. This is the Wednesday with three breakfasts. That’s how it’s different from other days.
What could you recast as a little adventure?
In other news: Lots of great books launched this week for people to check out!
My friend Camille Pagán has a new novel out called Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around. It’s a sequel to her previous book Life and Other Near Death Adventures, and just as fun a read.
Erica Dhawan (author of Get Big Things Done) just launched a book called Digital Body Language, which is about how to build trust and connection with people even if you are working in very different places. So timely as many teams are figuring out how to work long term in a location-flexible culture.
Scott Miller, whose tips I’ve featured on the Before Breakfast podcast, has a new book out called Marketing Mess to Brand Success, which has 30 challenges that can help business leaders think through creating a compelling story for the right people.
One from last week that I’m reading and enjoying now — We Should All Be Millionaires, by Rachel Rodgers. More on this to come in future weeks!
Photo: Lots of breakfasts…