I was reminded of how to get unstuck from a rut when my Father-in-law almost beat me at Words with Friends.

Last Sunday I couldn’t think of a word to play. I turned to my wife to help me crush her dad. She was only to happy to help.

Sarah came up with the word “Blah” up against the word “Fold” like this:

It was brilliant and gave me the points I needed to stay in the game.

After I played her word (don’t tell my father-in-law, OK?) I said: “I’ve never played a word alongside another word like that before!”

Then she said something very insightful like she normally does: “Maybe you should start.”

And that’s when I remembered how to get unstuck whenever I’m in a rut: Do the same thing, but in a different way.

I’m a creature of habit. It’s good because I am dependable and get things done (which makes me sound like I have more in common with a golden retriever then I ever hoped to). It can also be a bad thing because I get stuck in ruts fairly easily. In order to be more creative, in order to get out of our ruts, we need to do the things we normally do, but in a different way.

If you normally…

…Have your meetings in a conference room, try moving them to Starbucks and buying everyone their favorite coffee.

…Show a video clip when teaching, try using a object lesson.

…Have your small groups inside a building, try going outside on a sunny day.

…Post a note on someone’s Facebook wall, try handwriting a personal note, then posting it on the wall of their cubical.

…Study in your office, try studying at the park or by a lake.

…Do your quiet time on YouVerson.com, try pulling out an actually book (scary, I know), reading from it, and journaling in a notebook (not the electronic kind).

…Don’t have lunch with a certain co-worker, try inviting them out one day this week (on you). Make the conversation all about them. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn. You may even end up with a new friend.

…Pray in your house before work, try prayer-walking around your neighborhood, lifting up each of your neighbors as you pass their house.

…Respond to emails, texts, voicemails, etc. every nano second, try responding only once in the morning and once  30 minutes before you leave work. Then unplug for the rest of the day. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done.

…Have some noise on (TV, radio, iPod, etc) when you’re alone, trying being in silence for 10 minutes. It’ll feel like an eternity at first. But the more you do it the more relaxing it’ll be and the more focus you’ll have the rest of the day.

If you’re stuck in a rut, there’s a way out. Keep doing the stuff you’re supposed to do, but try doing it in a different way. It’ll bring a breath of fresh air to your work, your relationships, and your soul.

What’s one rut you need out of? How will you do what you normally do, but in a different way?

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