Routine is fantastic. It helps to ensure that we get shit done. C follows B follows A.

The problem inherent in relying on routine is when something new is thrown into the mix or something relevant is removed.

As I noted previously, exercise is a big part of my regular routine. After I exercise I feel great. I feel inspired. It encourages me to continue doing things that are hard. The nights I get the most done are the nights that I take the time first to exercise.

During Christmas with my extended family I fell down some stairs. My new socks were slippery and I was focused on my daughter. My connection with the carpet failed me and I went tumbling down a half dozen stairs toward two of my sister’s children. I luckily managed not to crush either of them.

I thought nothing of it. It didn’t feel like I’d hurt anything other than a simple bump on my hip and thigh. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I’d done something unhappy to a bunch of the soft tissue in my left foot. The next morning I could barely walk.

It didn’t improve much the day after either. I’d already gone through most of the holidays neglecting my exercise routine and saw it’s impact on my work. On top of that, I knew I’d probably put on a few pounds from the various festivities. It was really important for me to get back to exercising, but I really couldn’t. Everything I do requires using both my feet, including getting to my gym.

Exercise is a key part of the routine. Where the routine normally inspired me and kept me working, it was now preventing me from getting anything done at all. Exercise wasn’t possible and the routine was suffering for it. The schedule is flexible enough that I wasn’t worried about it, but I did need to get moving again.

The answer was to deliberately move out of the routine.

I worked outside of my usual daily schedule. I worked in different places. I moved off my laptop and onto my phone, where I’m slower, but able to work constantly and from anywhere. It didn’t take long for my foot to heal, four or five days, but moving off the routine allowed me to keep working without being slave to the routine. At the same time, it gave me some new tools for working.

Keep the schedule light and forgiving. Exploit the routine when you can and subvert it when you can’t. Keep moving.