Daily routines can be a welcome thing — even downright comforting sometimes when everything else is chaotic. However, there is a fine line between an efficient routine and getting stuck in a rut.

Here are four ways to tell you need a refresh.

1. That's what I call synergy

We all have tried-and-true phrases we use frequently, because they come naturally and accurately address the situation. However, if staff is finishing our sentences or starting to use the same phrases we do, it may be time to get a word-of-the-day calendar.

The simplest way to address the issue is to spend a week noting phrases or words we say or write regularly. Add to that list any phrases other employees are repeating. Review the list and consider alternatives, then practice using the new terms.

If a colleague makes a comment or raises an eyebrow, consider that positive confirmation that the change was made just in time.

2. Outlook clear

Having a regular schedule can be something to strive toward. However, if at any given moment, staff knows where we are and where we will be, it may be time to mix it up a bit.

For example, does taking a long lunch every Wednesday mean everyone else on the team is taking a long lunch as well? It is great to be reachable, but that does not necessarily mean predictable.

3. Triple grande, three pumps vanilla, one sweetener

Again, comfort can be found in the reliable little things within our day. But if the barista yells out "tall drip" right when you walk in the door, it might be time to mix it up a bit.

Take a minute to consider why the order is the same every day and ask yourself: Is it possible to get the same caffeine fix in an equally tasty, but different drink? The question may take you on a journey through a number of bad drinks back to your original order. But at the very least, it will have verified you were right in the first place!

4. Orange Jeep

Pass the same orange Jeep at the light every day? Notice the person who rides the subway with you has a new outfit? While it is difficult to argue the benefits of an efficient route to work or the regulated schedule of mass transit, having the same commute does not mean we must have the same thoughts.

Try adding a new podcast to the mix or playing a game of "I spy" on the way to work. Looking for news ways to view the same mundane things on the way to work may help us open our brains up to new perspectives on problems at work.

The bottom line is, science has shown that no matter how old we are or how hardwired we may think something is, our brains can change. Giving our brains a chance to stretch a bit can add a little creativity and spice to our normal order.