As a sufferer of Attention Deficit Disorder, I find that routine is often my savior, but it can be a curse as well.
Without a specific routine in the morning, I’d forget my head if it wasn’t bolted on.
Many people tend to look at routine as boring, or as being in a rut. For me, with my flighty distractibility, routine helps me manage my day.
I do things in a particular order at a specific time and if something throws that routine off, it can mess up my whole day.
One example of how adding just a single extra step to a normal procedure can throw things off is — and I don’t know if this will be considered TMI, but I’ll italicize the rest so if you want to skip it you can return when the font straightens out — if my pants have that extra inside button, for example. My normal pants procedure is pull them up, snap the snap (or button, or hook), buckle my belt, zip my fly. But if my pants have one of those extra inside buttons, that adds an additional step, and since I’m habitually used to 3 steps, not 4, guess which procedure is forgotten? I have one pair of pants that has TWO extra buttons. I’m surprised those days they don’t fall down around my ankles. “Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, lookin’ like a fool with his pants on the ground.”
So since I received my promotion, I was moved up a few floors. The previous break room had a community coffee pot that we all paid to use. This one however, has a Kurig single cup coffee maker. Now I’m not about to buy my own K-Cups just for work, so I’m making coffee at home and bringing it in a travel mug. Fine. But one cup only lasts so long.
On Tuesday, I found and cleaned out my coffee thermos (I was actually looking for something else and was pleasantly surprised to find the thermos. I’d forgotten I even had it). With this metal insulated canister, I get to bring more of my own coffee to work.
But guess what? Pouring coffee into the thermos added an extra step to my morning routine. Before, I’d get my lunch set. Pour my cup of coffee. Then take my ADHD medicine and I’m out the door.
Now the last few steps became, lunch set, coffee cup poured, thermos poured, sealed, and put in my messenger bag, and with a “Goodbye Honey!” I was out the door.
Two days in a row. Wednesday and Thursday. I had forgotten an important step (and lucky for me it wasn’t the “Goodbye Honey!” part).
I’d forgotten to take my ADHD meds before work.
Guess who was anything but productive those two days?
Yeah. Routine is a two-edged sword.