new-improvedI’ve written before about my Year of New Things, and the transformative effect it has been having on my daily life. This summer, I went to Europe for the first time: six weeks of new countries, new cities, new food, new languages, new money, new transportation systems. I had a blast!

When I got home and saw the “new things” list I keep on my computer desktop, my reaction was “NO! No more! No new for a few weeks!” I just wanted to hunker down in my nice comfy routines in my own house.

Truth is, too much newness can be just as bad as too much stagnation. It takes energy to keep figuring things out all the time! Each new city we visited meant figuring out the location of the bus stop, the grocery store, the coffee shop…each new apartment meant figuring out the appliances…each new transportation system meant figuring out new fares and routes. At home, going out to get groceries and a coffee is routine; on the road, each tiny step requires attention.

In the business press, we frequently see exhortations to Innovate! Be Creative! Come up with the Next New Thing! I myself bang on THAT drum quite a lot. But…is new ALWAYS better? Recent articles in Inc., Time, and Harvard Business Review explore the balance between innovation and routine, invoking the old 80/20 rule and sharing a case study in which new did NOT mean better at Lego.