Auto Pilot, Disabled

My work day starts anywhere between 7 and 8 a.m., and the party doesn’t stop until about 6 p.m. I typically work at home in the morning, then take a break of about an hour for breakfast and getting ready to head into the office. I often have work-related lunch engagements, otherwise, I eat at my desk while I clean out my inbox, or do light social engagement on behalf of SmallBox.

I don’t mind the ten or eleven hour days. It gives me the flexibility to break my day up into blocks, to take a walk in the afternoon, or to decide one day to knock off early for a yoga class with zero guilt. Still, the sitting and screen time that comes with the long days takes its toll eventually, so I’ve been thinking more consciously about inserting little breaks into the day.

This morning, I was doing the usual – catching up on email, reading some blog posts and getting an early start on the day. But then there it was – an email in my inbox challenging me to mix up my routine.

It served as a bit of a wake up call – why do I need a prompt to remind me to do what I love? Weird, right? If I could design each morning, free of rush and hurry, with no care to an overloaded to-do list, I’d begin with creativity. So, I gathered supplies – journal, pen and pencil, graph paper, markers, and my coffee, with no idea what small project to embark on.

Since I didn’t have any particular inspiration, I decided to draw the horse-like figure from a pillow I bought on my honeymoon in Mexico. I fell in love with these make-believe creatures at first sight. He seemed a little lonely, so I made up a friend for him, inspired by a kangaroo.


I’d never looked up the history of these figures, so I did a little digging there too. This embroidery style is the work of Mexico’s Otomí Indians, and the figures were inspired by a paper craft practiced by Otomí shaman for thousands of years, and before that, appeared in paintings found in ancient caves.

Just as I was leaving the house, I remembered the challenge again, and made a last minute trip back to my bedroom for the book I’ve been reading. Instead of the usual lunch at my desk, I was able to get in two chapters over my turkey kale wrap.

Later in the afternoon when it was time to take a walking break, I decided to check out a nearby coffee shop I had never visited. The barista at Perk Up in Broad Ripple gave me the scoop about these pie-like almond and raspberry cookies. They don’t always have them, he said, but when they do, he “jumps on it.” So, I had a jump-on-it cookie in a new cozy spot.


Adding these little elements throughout the day might require a little extra thought and planning, but I do like the way things looked when I shut off life’s auto pilot.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “Try something totally different. Take a new route to work. Make up a new recipe. What did you come up with?”