Editor’s Note: Reinvent the Routine
The value of taking a fresh, creativity-driven look at your day-to-day routine.
Few things are more routine for me than my early-morning trips to the gym. In this case, routine is a good thing: If I stopped to think about it each day, my attendance would be, shall we say, spotty at best. Based on the number of familiar faces I see there with me, dutifully chugging along on the treadmill or counting off their reps at the same time every morning, routine is helping a lot of folks maintain a healthy habit. Whether any of us is having a good time is another matter.
My day for having a good time is Thursday, when I work out with my trainer, Brian. Brian is an artist in a red t-shirt and sneakers. He brings all the fundamentals to our workouts but whips up variations so numerous that I’m never quite sure where I will be sore the next day. And he clearly relishes the opportunity to create something new: One morning, as I struggled to master a compound set of moves involving a barbell, Brian called out to another trainer working nearby, pointed at me, and, grinning, yelled, “Hey, look at this one! I just invented it last night!”
Brian knows the joy of creativity in an unexpected place. And because he’s inspired, so am I. Something essential and routine and often difficult in my week becomes unpredictable and fun on Thursdays, and I leave the gym surprised and delighted (not to mention a little stronger).
Associations can reap those same benefits when they stop to at least tweak, if not entirely reinvent, some of the essential and routine functions of association management. You know the ones. Board meetings, for example, can become so formulaic that you and your volunteers may begin to feel you’re just going through the motions. It doesn’t have to be that way, according to the out-of-the-box thinkers who share their stories in this issue.
When you have a few minutes for inspiration, read on. You may suddenly feel motivated to flex some long-neglected creative muscles of your own.