Innovation and Routines

May 8, 2020  
Principal - Judi Nealy

One of the people I follow is George Couros, who describes himself currently as an “Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Consultant”. His daily email link to his blog is something that I can pass over for weeks when life is busy. But can also provide a thinking prompt for me to consider something slightly differently. During the holiday break, I read his post where he talks about fitness and the difficulty he has experienced in regaining fitness due to a lack of routine. This really hit home to me during this time of closed gyms as my morning fitness routine has been very disrupted by our current situation. But there is also some learning here that can apply to much of life, learning and work.

Couros suggests that fitness, health and routine tasks are all more positive, achievable and effective when we take the “choice” out of completing them. His strategy is to have a routine and procedure where he “ticks off” tasks that must be completed at a particular time before he can move on to other things, not when he feels like it.

The outcome is that he completes these tasks because he has eliminated the choice to do them.

“They have to get done and I have to find a way to make it happen.  It is not optional.  It also eliminates the “dread” of doing something.”  

Most interesting to me is his discovery that once the dread was eliminated, he enjoyed doing and completing these tasks. He sums it up this way:

“In many areas of our life, personal or professional, some things will be much easier to do and will lead to success if we put them into the “no choice” category. Training your mind to think that way can lead to much better results in the long-term.”

I think there is much to be reminded of here particularly as we all work and learn from home, but even as things return to “normal”. And I think this advice links well with Mr Hackett’s focus areas of getting the little things right – it is helpful to identify the “no choice” tasks and to schedule our time to get them done – eliminate choice. It is helpful to schedule in some physical activity as a “no choice” task to get done each day. I think it is also helpful to schedule in some “personal time” as an option also – where choosing something that brings joy is the “no choice”.

It’s really interesting that a blogger about innovation is talking about routines and “no choice”. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at this combination, we know that artists, musicians, scientists and all other creativity is a combination of discipline and innovation.

I have scheduled my newsletter articles and other blogs for Term II  and I’m going to do my best to stick to my schedule and not give myself a choice. I look forward to reporting back to you all on whether the deadline “dread” is eliminated!

As we move into a return to school from Week 3, I encourage our students to maintain helpful routines and identify their “no choice” areas that will eliminate “dread”. I am certain that we will have learnt much from our time in isolation that will benefit each of us as we return to face-to-face interactions – let’s not waste the opportunity.

ALUMni showcase | Dr Meganne Christian

As many Australians are finding themselves impacted by COVID-19, we recently reconnected with Dr Meganne Christian (Alumna 2004), who has a unique perspective on the crisis. Having worked in Antarctica and now living in Northern Italy, Meganne is no stranger to isolation. I invite you to read all about Meganne’s journey since graduation from TIGS and her advice for anyone currently in isolation.

Read About It Now




George Couros Something Personal, Professional, and Profound – (Email #18) 18/4/2020.


Mindful in May


Alumni Showcase | Meganne Christian