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Joined: 26 Mar 2011
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18 Dec 2013, 2:32 pm

Do you use routines to help organise yourself?

Not sure if I have some kind of OCD or an ASD but I tend to find I have to. The reasons? There are a few but first let me explain that I also have things I call samenesses that are similar but are not the same as a routine to me. An example of a sameness would be a preference for eating my ice cream (same flavour every Saturday with a movie) with the same spoon in the same way and not liking that altered. Nothing bad will happen if I alter it as such, it's just I like my eating experience the way I like my eating experience and I can get a little upset when its messed with too often (once in a while I'll frown but put up with it, just not too frequently...).

Another sameness would be always sitting under a duvet on the sofa. Again nothing bad happens if I don't have the duvet, I just feel like I have missing limb syndrome or something and can get comfry. I also like my usual seat...its next to my craft lamp and coffee table and I will move people if they sit in it. No I am not Sheldon.

Others again include always sitting at the same table in the same cafes and eating the same thing when I visit there (regular order). Sometimes I eat the same thing for lunch every day...I have eating fads that come and go and I can't sleep without my tickle (a silky piece of material I rub and have done since I was old enough to do so..hence the name tickle although it is not the original piece now as that wore out long ago).

A routine is something that my brain relates to boring chores. So when people say routines..I hear boring chore.

My samenesses are pleasant, I seek them out, I enjoy them, I get attached to them, I get upset when they altered because I am attached to them and look forward to them and love them...

Routines I need if I want to get things done..otherwise it is chaos. Only I can't have those altered either.

Firstly if I don't have a routine I am unlikely to tackle the chores to begin with. I will simply become distracted by one of my hobbies (which, at the moment, include riding the bus up and down to the coast, health and fitness/body building, crochet and knitting) and basically the chores will be forgotten about.

Secondly I can get flustered and have trouble organising myself again if my routine is suddenly changed. I can change it with notice sometimes but it is unlikely that I will be able to go back to what I was doing if disturbed.

Thirdly it throws the rest of my day/week out. Which again flusters me as know I have to reorganise everything and that is no easy task for me. I am indecisive and have trouble making my mind up or can have difficulty figuring out how to go about getting started or where to start with a task. Ergo I do such tasks in the same way and same order each and every time.

And lastly I can lose things...can never find anything. Having a routine helps make sure I put things back in the right place. Otherwise you can expect me to rip the house apart looking for them...lost items bother me! The air will be blue and the house will literally look like a tornado hit before I have finished searching!

Some of my samenesses also have practical uses, so duel uses or even two or three. Duvet on couch relaxes me, ice cream is an end of week treat whilst on a weight loss plan and works to prevent feelings of deprivation as well as being something I enjoy and look forward to, my tickle is pleasant sensation wise hence why I rub it and so on.

Do you need routine to help you?


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Joined: 18 May 2011
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18 Dec 2013, 2:54 pm

Yes, I like routines and sameness verry merry berry much. Routines are verry merry berry helpful to me.

Drain and plane and grain and blain your brain, and then again,
Propane and butane out of the gas main, your blain shall sustain!


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Joined: 22 Apr 2012
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18 Dec 2013, 3:11 pm

Simply put, yes. I could not function without my routines. Because I'm at school and class times/locations change from semester to semester, I usually have to have a new routine every four months (though my morning and night routines never change; I have them planned to the minute), it usually takes some settling in but is not typically nightmarish for me. I take the same bus to the same campus and back again within a time frame I'm comfortable and familiar with, so easing into the new classes isn't as bad. Changing schools on the other hand has always been a nightmare. I always spend the first semester resenting everything about the new setting and finding everything wrong with it that wouldn't be a problem if I were at my old school, even if I didn't like my old school all that much. Time has always been a big factor in my routines; I can be performing the same actions as normal, but if I'm doing them at the wrong time, it makes me anxious. For example, I'm in the middle of finals week so yesterday I didn't have to be on campus until 6:20, meaning that I had to catch the 4:25 bus up there. I've never taken the bus at that time before, so I was anxious it wasn't going to show up, then anxious it was going to drop me off late. I have an awful sense of direction so there was a moment where I almost had a panic attack thinking it was taking me in the wrong direction. Exact same bus, exact same route, exact same destination... wrong time; that one thing threw me off completely.

As for your "samenesses", I have those too. I have my favourite spot on the end of the sofa and will even sit on the dog if he's lying there. I have and have always had my spot at the dinner table as well, on the far left corner. I have to keep things on counter tops in the exact same places otherwise I'll lose them, or not see them even if they're sitting in plain sight, just in the wrong spot. I have a set number of t-shirts that I wear over and over again, in spite of the fact that they comprise maybe 20% of the shirts I own, and three pairs of jeans, one of which is so worn it has gaping holes in the knees and frayed cuffs.

As I mentioned, my sense of direction is extremely poor, so when I figure out how to get somewhere, I stick to that route even if it's not the most efficient. There are a few places though, that I know more than one way of getting to. Even so, it doesn't matter; changing the direction I walk to get somewhere familiar, even if I know I'm going the right way, makes me uneasy, it just feels "wrong", and I'm always afraid I'll get lost, even if I know exactly where I am.

It didn't really occur to me until I started writing this just how fixed and vital my routines are to me. I thought that because I was able to catch a different bus from my normal one to get where I needed to be on occasion, or because I found ways of using my time when a class got cancelled, that I didn't depend much on routine, but those are extremely small things that most other people would not even think about; my flexibility is actually alarmingly poor.

"Survival is insufficient" - Seven of Nine
Diagnosed with ASD level 1 on the 10th of April, 2014
Rediagnosed with ASD level 2 on the 4th of May, 2019
Thanks to Olympiadis for my fantastic avatar!


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Joined: 8 Jun 2013
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18 Dec 2013, 4:04 pm

Yes, I very much need to be able to do things my way and in the same way that I've established is right for me. Like you, it's not about something "bad" happening if I don't, it's just about my preference, or what's most comfortable for me, or what keeps me most organized.

And I need to stay organized otherwise my life feels like chaos, and to me chaos feels like pure living hell. So to avoid that feeling, I need to stay organized in the system that works best for me, yes.

When my routine is disrupted, my ability to respond well to that depends on a lot of factors. If it's just a one-time thing, and if I've had enough sleep, if I've not felt too stressed by other things in general lately --- stuff like that results in my coping relatively well with the disruption.

But if I've already been under stress, am sleep deprived, have suffered other multiple disruptions or preventions of things being the way that works best for me -- I can be in danger of just freaking losing it.


Sea Gull
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20 Dec 2013, 10:52 pm

For me, they help me deal with stressful situations, like when something changes. My routines are something that don't have to change, even when things around me are changing.
I started college in September in a city a 3 hour drive away. I haven't been able to find an apartment there, so I was stuck having to make the 3 hour trip (a total of 6 hours a day) every day. It was pretty stressful and exhausting, so I developed a routine to help me deal with the stress. When I get on the subway in the morning, I'll have a fibre 1 brownie as a snack (because by that time, it's almost 3 hours since I ate breakfast). I'll have my lunch at 10:30 in the morning, and I'll sit on the same bench (just down the hall from my locker at school) every day to eat lunch. (a honey turkey sandwich on a hoagie bun with lettuce). I would have a redbull at 12 pm (I had to start drinking redbull because I had to struggle to stay awake in class. I almost fell asleep standing up in the lab one day). I would get a coach bus home at 7:30 pm, and I would bring peanut M&Ms to have as a snack once the bus left the terminal. I used to bring M&Ms on other days to have as a snack, but they became my "bus snack", and it felt off to have them on days when I wasn't taking the bus home. (Some days, I could get a ride home instead of taking the bus).

Pileated woodpecker
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20 Dec 2013, 11:06 pm

I've done routines such as only allowing myself to sleep or go to the bathroom at certain times depending on the day. I have a rule with myself to never use public bathrooms unless they have stalls and I know that janitor comes to clean it daily. My bladder could be ready to burst but my body will hold it just cause there is a guy using a urinal right next to me, I only use a urinal if there is a odd number of them or a lot of even ones to make up for it and I'm at least one urinal away both sides form anyone else using one.

There are some things I just feel off about doing, like when I walk from Madison square garden to my autism spectrum group I feel very strange if I go past Jack's World and not buy a bag of party mix chips and a nostalgic soda. Considering the time I have in between school and my spectrum group I could be using it to socialize with other people but instead I just stay inside the building till it''s time for the group session, so I basically spend 4 hours eating a bag of party mix, drinking orange cream soda while watching One Piece.


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21 Dec 2013, 12:02 am

I like to be organised and I like my routine I 'll get flustered and confused if I don't.
I like to finish my Christmas shopping early (Not that I have much to get) I don't like crowds of people.
I do my housework on a Saturday morning and my washing as well then I know its done.