Monotony Is Softly Killing My Creativity

You feel trapped in your daily routine. You are tired of doing the same things, meeting the same people, visiting the same places, listening to the same life stories… day in, day out. Eventually, this dullness of your everyday reality starts to affect your creative thinking. Suddenly, you realise that you have a new best friend – Monotony.

monotony and creative thinking

photo: andrew le

I know that what I am about to tell you will not offer a big consolation, but there are times in our lives when we are all friends with Monotony. She is like those people who you do not meet for ages and then, suddenly, you start bumping into them everywhere you go. Sometimes it becomes so frustrating that you start to feel pursued.

Monotony is defined as a lack of variety. It is also manifested as uniformity in form or colour, or as sameness of tone, scenery, occupation, etc. A prolonged feeling of monotony can lead to depression and frustration with one’s own life.

Monotony can influence your emotions and way of thinking in various ways, but I am going to focus on its effect on creative thinking.

Effects of Monotony on Creativity

Monotony reinforces old mental connections that lead our thinking along the usual thinking paths.
Result: Inability to create new and interesting ideas.

Monotony prevents our mind from noticing external information (lateral impulses) that can inspire/trigger our mind to create new ideas.
Result: Creative block.

Long spells of monotony lead to constant boredom, depression, lethargy… states that drain oneself from life energy.
Result: Lack of desire to create or to be creative – dormant creativity.

How to Break Monotony

Good news is that monotony can easily be broken by making some simple changes in your everyday routine and by introducing some new activities into your life. I am not an expert in curing monotony, but I have compiled a list of the things that you can try out. These things are proven, and they work for my friends and me.

How to break the monotony at work

Redesign your working space: tidy, de-clutter, get new folders, mouse pad, table lamp, shelves, plants…

Change the way you commute to your office: take a new route, change the means of transport (e.g. if you go by car, take a bus, train or bike), walk all the way or part of the way.

Make short breaks while working: go out for a coffee, sit in the park and listen to your favourite music, read a book.

Have a coffee break with the colleagues you do not usually go to breaks with.

Ask to join a new project, volunteer to help a co-worker, ask your boss to enrol you for a training course.

How to break the monotony in a relationship

Start dating your partner again.

Take 20 minutes every day to talk with your partner about all kinds of things (be present, do not just tell but listen as well).

Do things together with your partner: cook, do exercise, go dancing…

Take the TV out of your bedroom.

Plan to go to a place you have always wanted to visit together but never had the time or resources.

How to break the monotony in life in general

Observe the world around you. Be present. There are so many exciting things going on all around you that you miss noticing.

Exercise – walk, jog, swim…

Enjoy art – go to a theatre, exhibition, museum…

Travel – go on a weekend trip, or one day trip or even an afternoon excursion to the countryside.

Learn new skills or language, sign in for an interesting course;

Spend more time with your friends, contact some friends you have not seen for ages and meet with them.

Meet new people: attend conferences, interesting events, new places…

Play with kids. If you do not have kids of your own, you can borrow somebody else’s.

Do voluntary work, engage in a cause that makes sense to you.


Start a personal project.

Dream, create new ideas, execute them and watch them become alive… Your new project may open new business opportunities for you or you may create an entirely new lifestyle while pursuing your personal passions.

It is always hard to make the first step. Make your own list of the things that you wish to do and activities you would like to engage in, and just do them. Start with small steps and then move on to the more complicated ones.

Very soon you will notice that Monotony has found a new best friend and that your life has become more exciting and inspiring without her.

If you like this and previous posts please share them with your creative friends or visit the NCY Podcast and listen to my shows about creativity.

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