Detox from Routine

As I write this, it’s Monday. Before today, I haven’t touched my computer since Thursday — and I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been away from a computer for that long. Even my vacations usually involve a lot of writing. If not, they involve reading…and I think I’ve read all of one chapter during this time.

This weekend hasn’t been a vacation. I moved on Friday — from an apartment into a house. It’s been a massive amount of work, with the occasional snag to keep things interesting. There have been literal blood, sweat, and tears. There’s an errands list that’s getting longer instead of shorter. My feet hurt.



These past few days have been a complete break from routine of all sorts…and I can’t tell you how relaxing that’s been.

Conventional writing wisdom tells you to write every day, or at least to recharge by reading. Housekeeping, exercise, both involve routines. Vacations are relaxing precisely because they’re characterized by a lack of routine. But you don’t need a vacation to step out of a rut.

I’ve spent these past few days wholly involved with the world in front of me, not words or screens, much as I love them most of the time. I’m in a different part of the same city now, a heavily Italian neighbourhood, and it feels like I’ve moved somewhere completely new. I’ve spent this time like a childhood summer vacation — waking without an alarm, living in shorts and T-shirts, never watching the clock, eating when I’m hungry, following my natural rhythms. And yes, working my ass off. But given that my normal routine involves a keyboard and a desk in an office tower, even the physical labour has felt good.

Tomorrow it’s back to work…the same work, although my commute will take a different route. Back to clocks and alarms and keyboards and words. I hope some of this break will stay with me as I step out of this interlude and into the everyday world.

How do you keep the sense of a vacation after you come back? When do you break your routine?

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