As I noted at the end of my previous post, my next phase of designing routines focused on the structure of a full day. After two weeks, the effect seems to be impressively positive. My days have been more consistent, more focused, and less frustrating. Productivity has roughly doubled. It is possible that this new schedule is unsustainable, a form of crunch that will eventually burn me out, but right now I’m optimistic that it can be maintained indefinitely (with the aid of occasional days off, of course). Allow me to describe the daily structure, and why I have adopted various features. (more…)
I have noticed routines frequently mentioned as a trait common among autistic people. Reflecting on my personal experiences, I initially had a difficult time figuring out my mental association with routines. I did not perceive that I had a stronger attachment to routines than an average person, nor a larger number of them, nor more intricately detailed routines. And that perception may have been entirely accurate and the end of my investigation; variation among autistic people is significant, and few are going to exhibit every single classic trait of autism.
But I had a nagging suspicion that there was more to this than was immediately apparent. I had a subtle feeling that although I presently had few well defined routines, and did not have aggressive attachments to them, that might be due to suppression of a tendency toward routine, rather than simply not having such a tendency. Of course, avoiding excessive reliance on routine can be healthy. Especially in a highly social home life, school life, and work life, situations that benefit greatly from flexibility.
But this year is the first time in my life that I’ve lived on my own, without family or roommates, am not going to school, and work by myself from home. What if my avoidance of routine, which was previously necessary for healthy living, is now limiting my quality of life or my productivity? I had already noticed that my focus on flexibility had often made it difficult for me to commit to activities that required concentration, out of a desire to remain mentally prepared for the unpredictable. And in general, I found it hard to develop healthy habits like good dental hygiene, because I simply lacked the appropriate scheduled framework and attitude to do so. I decided it was time to switch it up: Instead of practicing my skill of remaining flexible in any situation, a skill which had already become reasonably honed through years of exercise, I would shift my focus over to practicing the development of constructive routines.
I’m only three weeks in with my experimentation, but I’m impressed with the results I’ve already achieved in such a short time. This definitely supports my suspicion that I was suppressing my desire for routine. Allow me to describe some of the aspects of the routines I’ve developed so far, my reasons for designing them as I have, and some of the benefits I’ve noticed. (more…)