Shutdown Resolutions

I came across two ideas this week that feel related. First, in the Todoist (to-do-ist) newsletter, the topic was shutdown rituals. The eponymous app (which I have no idea how to use) is aimed at keeping remote work productive. For some people, living and working in the same place means clear boundaries between personal and professional identities take extra work, Having a shutdown ritual–good-bye, work day/hello, rest of my life–can help with that.

I have a shutdown ritual for the end of my day, but not for the end of my writing sessions, nor do I want one. I want my subconscious to know the writing tab is always open, and to be focusing on writing-related challenges (what keeps the couple in my work in progress apart?!), when I’m asleep, in the shower, or driving to the horse barn.

Then the second idea arrived, courtesy of author Charles Finch’s social media feed. Charles writes the utterly delightful Charles Lenox mystery series, which is set in Victorian England. He asked his readers: What are your-rest-of-the-year resolutions?

One of the casualties of the pandemic for me was my sense of time passing in discreet, orderly units. Days blended into weeks and months, some years went by, and now… I can mostly tell you what day of the week it is, and even get the date right too, but it’s still not automatic, and it should be. It used to be.

So I’m asking myself: What end of year resolutions will help me wish 2023 a friendly farewell? How can I use the next two months to fashion a shutdown ritual for 2023? I will get after my now dormant flower beds (yay for the first frost!), plant next year’s bulbs, probably do a wardrobe review, and take a break from writing this blog.

In the coming weeks, I’ll also be looking for ways to punctuate the farewells that happened in 2023. Farewell to riding horses (for now at least). Farewell to about 35 pounds (and may they please stay the heck gone and take another 35 with them). Farewell to hiding in the house to do my steps on the tread desk when I live in a gorgeous corner of the world.

Respect for ChristmasI will think more on this business of shutdown rituals and rest of the year resolutions. Both topics help me focus on being present in the time I have, in the situation I’m in, and that’s generally a good thing.

Do you rely on any sort of bell-book-and-candle routines to switch gears? Are you hoping to get some projects completed before the New Year arrives?

PS: For the whole month of November, my Windham Brides holiday novella, Respect for Christmas, is priced at $.99 on all the major retailers. This is Henny Whitlow and Michael Brenner’s tale, and one of my faves.

PS: If you’d like an ARC copy of Miss Dramatic, due out Nov. 27 on the retail sites, please email me at [email protected], and let me know what device you read on.

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11 comments on “Shutdown Resolutions

  1. I have a routine that relies on my calendar application reminding me of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks. I don’t actually have to think about things too much, which may not be a good thing. But especially when I see one of the less frequent tasks, I am reminded that a certain amount of time has passed and I am turning the corner on something. Not as profound as it might be but I’m not naturally an introspective person. I just deal with what I have to when I have to and try not to worry about it otherwise. Once again, you’ve given me something to think about.

  2. Pingback: Dubiously Ever After!!! | Grace Burrowes | I believe in love.

  3. Shutdown rituals… maybe where happy hour came from? I used to say that with kids, happy hour/s were when no on was.

    I have a few major family events to attend before New Years with whatever grace and kindness I can muster. And hope that everyone stays well throughout.

  4. I started this year as a wife of 40 years, living with my husband in dark, quiet, rural Arizona. Now I’m a widow, living with my sister in a noisy, over-lit, small city west of Pittsburgh. Oh, and now I’m recovering from a bout covid in October.

    My rest of the year resolution might include coming to terms with the changes. Creating my own living space. Or trying to figure out who I am. That sort of thing.

    I encourage you to take advantage of the peace and natural beauty of your surroundings. A brisk walk (or a meandering walk, or a contemplative walk) is good for your state of mind, good for your state of being.

  5. I rely heavily on rituals to set things apart. Stuff like lighting a candle and putting on some jazz music for dinner. Like always using the same pen to journal with in the same location in my house. rituals are a big part of my routine, and I love the structure and focus they bring

  6. Dear Grace,
    I thoroughly enjoy your books. I have listened to almost all of the audio additions on Libby (through the library) and have bought several as donations to the library to complete a series. I started on the Lonely Lords series and was surprised that Darius seems to be the only one in audio. Are the others available or will they be made available in audio format? Thank you

  7. I do zero work from home so I still have the old transitions from place to place to signal the change. The strange fits and starts of the passing of time in the covid era however, are very much part of my struggle. There are things I like about the covid time (it is not speeding by, I feel more present in each day in a way) but also I remain a little unsettled by the uneven nature of it. I like the idea of a rest of the year resolution, that is going to require some thought but it strikes me as a good opportunity to wrap things up vs. the emphasis on change and beginning with New Year’s resolutions.

  8. Thinking about end of year rituals… I can’t say as I have any specific habits to close out the year. I do make my biggest charitable contributions in December (though as deserving organizations come to my attention during the year I donate at other times as well). The one thing that is constant at the end of each year is an unsettling feeling that I am leaving things unfinished, that there are things I ought to be doing before the calendar turns the page to the new year. Also, as family members get older (myself included) I find myself wondering as I fill out my calendar for the new year with friends’ and relatives’ birthdays, which of them will still be with us as the calendar turns over to the next year. Having lost entirely too many friends and relatives over the past few years, I find that to be a constant, though morbid, concern. Hoping for a peaceful and loving holiday season (whatever holiday you may celebrate) and a happy new year for everyone! Stay safe. Stay well everyone!

  9. When my kids were younger(in school and living at home) and I was still teaching, I would walk my class to the door at the end of the day to see them off on their way home. I would stop in the restroom to wash my hands on my way back to my classroom. My shifting gears time was the 30 minutes or so I spent straightening up the room and getting things in order for the next day. Home was always so busy, the switching gears had to happen in the space between students and my own kids.

  10. Mine are natural demarcations, such as the commute between work and home. It is an enjoyable time where I listen to audiobooks. Being off on the weekends means that I am not bound to an alarm clock but can sleep in. I love free time, looking forward to retiring and figuring out how I want to use it.

  11. For me, drive time was usually the switch between work & other- I do a lot of gardening, though now my work is also gardening so it gets a bit blurred. I walk with my dog daily first thing in the morning (a necessity for me!) & am reactive to the day length. So the rhythm of the seasons is more important than the calendar new year & I try to keep balanced with what needs doing currently.