If You're Angsty About Going Back To Work Today--Read This

Today is the first day back in routine for many of us. The holidays—and the welcome distractions they bring—are officially over. Presents unwrapped, champagne flutes clinked, family has gone home. The office is full again and the kids are back in school.

Even though it’s Wednesday, many of us will have a case of the “Mondays.” There is a certain dread that comes on January 2nd. Just a day ago, you were dreaming big dreams about what might be possible this year. But now here you are—heading back into the same old routine.

2019 is sure to be as mundane as 2018 if you let it. 

Which begs the question, will you let it?

There is a brilliant academic paper, popularized by the bestselling book Grit called “The Mundanity of Excellence.” It follows swimmers at the highest level, looking for what distinctions in training regimen correlate to (or cause) better performance. The paper concludes that repetitive action, with continuous qualitative improvement is all it takes. 

In other words, repetition matters. Especially when it comes to the boring stuff you do on a day to day basis. Because doing the same thing over and over, and learning to do it slightly better as you go, is what will make you excellent at whatever it is you’re doing.

As you step back into your routine today, remember this. Becoming excellent at something is a matter of layering days, weeks, months, years, and decades of doing the same things over and over again. This goes for parenting, as much as it does for writing. For negotiating, as much as loving someone.

2019 may have a forecast of mundanity.

Today may be the start of tedium and bore.

But I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing.

All that matters today is making sure you’ve chosen the right flavor of mundanity.

Kate Ward