The chaos of life is inevitable. Daily life seems to beat us down like a 9 round heavyweight fight and though this chaos can seem crippling — you can leverage it as a way to create pattern interruptions.
While nearly everyone has (what they would consider) a busy life, it’s not an excuse to stop growing as a person. Instead of giving up, you need to be able to adapt.
After writing about the power of micro habits, I’ve frequently been approached about how people can establish habits when their lives are so hectic.
My suggestion has been to embrace the life you have and begin to leverage pattern interruptions.
What is a Pattern Interruption?
Behavioral psychology and neuro linguistic programming use this method to disrupt and change thought patterns and behaviors. It can be as simple as initiating a handshake or as definitive as seizing the moment to travel or fulfill your bucket list.
This modern technique allows you to take distractions, enable them to adjust your mental state, and continue to move forward. Think of it like a car slowing down to turn and then speeding back up again.
The process of utilizing pattern interruptions is a tactic to be able to deflect interruptions and continue being as productive as possible efficiently.
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal.” — Paulo Coelho
How You Can Start Using Pattern Interruption
1. It keeps you engaged and mentally present.
2. It gives you the ability to alter your mental state frequently.
This will prevent you from getting into a ‘deep work state’, but that actually not such a bad thing. Going down the rabbit hole might allow you to get lots done, but it may not be as productive work as you would think.
These pattern interruptions help you to be in more of a “nibble state” where you are more mentally present. This helps you to be both more tactical and creative.
Starting to use this method is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is embrace every interruption, realize it just shook you out of whatever mental state you were in, and then use your new mental state to utilize your new perspective.
This mental shift is subtle, yet effective.
How I‘ve Embraced Pattern Interruptions Recently
I recently had a two-week break between jobs, and without hesitation — I packed up and hit the road for two weeks. This was a big pattern interruption from my typical 9–5 and helped me to recharge my batteries.
On a smaller scale, I’ve really embraced the process on a professional level. I started a new remote job at SchoolKeep and am using pattern interruptions to help me work from home.
Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s nice because you can get up and hop right into work with no commute. It’s difficult because you don’t have the mental queues you would typically have in a standard office environment.
People don’t get up to go to lunch or pack up and leave at 5 when you work from home. I know this may sound strange, but many times I have worked straight through lunch or worked 10+ hours because I had no trigger to indicate a stopping point. This is where pattern interruptions come in handy for me.
As a way to initiate my own pattern interruptions, I use Slack’s Slackbot to remind me every hour to get up, walk around, and drink water. This helps me keep a better handle on time and keep me from going too far down the rabbit hole.
These are a few use cases, but the number of ways you can use pattern interruptions is infinite.
This mental switch will help you to become more productive, creative, and have a more positive overall outlook on life.