I am a creature of habit. I like having a routine, even if it isn’t necessarily a strict routine. The routine I have is more of general guidelines for my day, and allows me to make adjustments as needed, like if I’m not feeling well or something goes wrong at work and I have to wait for them to fix it. That being said, as I’m sitting here plotting out my weekly schedule, I had a thought of someone who might ask me, if your days are all the same, except for weekends, why bother writing out a schedule at all?
To answer that, I find it very meditative and calming.
Yes, I do the same thing day in and day out, generally speaking, and working from home gives me that flexibility to work whenever I choose to do so. However, as someone with anxiety and a little bit of OCD, having a regular routine helps keep my anxiety levels low and writing it out on paper helps to ensure that I actually stick to the schedule. Also, part of the reason I write out the schedule every week is not for what I do during my typical work hours. I write it out for what I do after work to try and maximize my free time. I’m a highly creative person, or at least I think I am, and I have a lot of projects and ideas I want to work on that range from writing, coloring, and crocheting, to name a few. Plus trying to get through an entire video game franchise’s mainstream titles in one year, which is a Herculean task in and of itself, and basically takes up my weekends.
So having this routine kind of sets the stage for how I spend and maximize my free time for creative projects. For example, having a designated writing time four days a week gives me a chance to write about whatever I need to get off my chest, be that some stressful event from the day or week, or to write out a particularly strong story idea that won’t leave me alone. Sometimes I use my writing time to get other “adulting” stuff done, like balancing my checkbook and planning out my weekly schedule, only because it calms my mind and gives it a menial task, which allows my muse to work in the background and possibly give me more creative ideas to work with.
This ties in with the OCD because as much as I love my routine, I absolutely HATE it when it gets disrupted dramatically. Like when a server crashes and I have to wait several hours for it to be restored. Not only does this bump my anxiety levels up, but it throws the rest of my day our of whack. I’m sure people might ask me, well, why don’t you do some of your other planned things while you wait? And my answer would be, because my brain has been programmed to follow this schedule and it is currently in work mode right now. It’s really difficult for me to switch gears on a dime like that, even though some days that’s how my train of thought is. But when I’m in work mode, I stay there until my work is done, and then I can relax a little. Just like when I’m in gaming mode, I don’t particularly like to get up during gaming mode, but I do anyways, partly to get the steps in and partly because I generally have horrible posture when I game and it hurts to stay in one position for so long, so I physically have to get up.
In addition, I tend to be a very forgetful person, and Arabella can attest to that, so writing things down is a way for me to remember just about anything. I might not always remember WHERE I wrote something down, but I can generally remember having written it down. From the important stuff to the less important, but still vital information, writing it down helps me remember, which is sad for someone as young as I am, but I like to think that it is more from having so many thoughts running around my brain than from any actual disease. Plus it’s not like I’m forgetting where my keys are or how to do a very basic task. It’s more like the library catalog in my brain is overflowing and papers are getting lost in the chaos.
So even though the routine is the same week in and week out, the “after school projects” are different from day to day and I write everything down to remember and keep my anxiety levels down.