05: How important is having a routine to you?
Outside my bubble, routine is a vital tool in protecting my energy. Without it I’d almost certainly spend 90% of my spare time regrouping and replenishing and lots of other things that start with “re”.
Take the supermarket. I always buy exactly the same stuff, because it means I can traverse the same route plucking the same items from the shelves - my hands and feet know the drill so my mind can pretty much dissociate. If I had to switch my eyes and my brain on, the sensory overload would be horrific. There’s a very real chance I’d actually starve rather than be able to force myself to do the fortnightly shop; as it is, running low on bogroll is as bad as it gets. Routine protects me from sensory overload.
Take the peeing place. In between Aldi and Tesco I usually have to pee, and I absolutely hate public toilets. The first time this happened, I drove about the countryside in the dark in a state of rising panic, looking for places to stop that only registered as I was already passing them. But I know where the places are now, so I’ve picked one and I head out there after Aldi, no dramas, and have a nice leisurely al fresco pee. Routine protects me from having to make decisions when I’m not enjoying optimum physical comfort. And, y’know, from peeing myself in the car.
Take other people and making plans with them. Some people live from moment to moment, and while of course that must be nice it doesn’t work for me because I’m not a quick thinker. That’s pretty much why I plan things. I do find, though, that when you make a plan with one of the moment-folk, they have a tendency to want to “evolve” the plan as the day draws near. This does not work for me because the time it takes for me to trundle through my mental database and assess whether I can accommodate said change far, far exceeds what is considered reasonable in conversation (and quite frankly I resent doing the extra thinking). In the past I’ve allowed myself to be panicked by the expectation of a quick response, but not this decade. So no, no changes to the plan thank you very much. Routine protects me from being steamrollered by quicker-thinking people’s needs and expectations.
Inside the bubble it’s a different story - hardly a routine in sight, if you can believe that. I start work at 10am because I have to be working by ten and I’m too lazy to get out of bed a second before I have to. Beyond that, though, there are no rules… bedtime’s when I’m tired, mealtimes are when I’m hungry and stuff gets done on a purely reactive basis. I do spend quite a lot of time doing not very much. Sometimes I think I might get more done if I had a bit of structure, but we’ll get to that when we get to it.
Last updated November 05, 2020