Home > Musings on Life in General, My Life Musings > When Routine Goes Bad

When Routine Goes Bad

Ah, routine. My life is ruled by it. Many people’s are. Wake up, make up the lunch box, have a shave, have a shower, go to work.

Do work.

Come home, make tea, watch a DVD while eating tea. Watch some more telly. Go to bed.

Simple? Safe, certainly. But it’s a lot of work, in my own head. There are certain programmes to watch on certain days. The same food is eaten on each day each week. And I don’t like this to change.

pizza and Dr Who

Pizza and Dr Who - the perfect Saturday night combination

For example, Saturday night is pizza night. Pizza and (currently) an episode of Dr Who. The Dr Who is important. I know the episodes really well. That means I can look down at my pizza to sprinkle on the Tabasco without missing anything.

I think of it as my weekly treat. If I “have” to do something else on Saturday night I get mildly irritated. My brain immediately screams “But, but, it’s pizza night!”. I need to designate another night to be pizza night. That mucks up my routine for the alternate night. The sky falls and the world comes to an end. I can’t help thinking this isn’t entirely “normal” (whatever that is).

gas on


Routine has its up side, of course. When I leave home, I check various plug-sockets, electrical equipment, the windows and so on in the same order every single time. That way nothing gets missed. I know nothing’s been left on. No worries, no “rushing back home to check”.

On the negative side, I’ve noticed that some things I do are so automatic, they cease to be “things to do” and become instead “the correct number of things to do”. I once had a pair of trousers with an extra button. More than once I left the house with the fly unzipped. My brain insisted I’d done the correct number of things in order to fasten those trousers – the extra button took the place of the fly.


Batman doesn't have this problem - he just locks up and goes

Where do things deteriorate to the point of the ridiculous? When I lock a door I always give the handle a tug to check – normal enough. I then need to leave the immediate vicinity within 4-5 seconds, or I’ll check the door again. Just in case it has magically unlocked itself in the meantime. And I’ll keep checking it until I leave. The absolute knowledge that it’s locked doesn’t help.

Some people describe routine as “boring”. I prefer “predictable”. I’m sure there’s a line there somewhere, I’m just not sure I’m on the right side of it.

  1. Gilraen
    January 22, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I like routines as long as they are useful. They ensure you don’t leave the house without keys for instance. But also can become something that inhibits you when the routines take over and they become a brake on new things.

    I think you are doing the right thing by looking at your routines and think them over. Routines can be changed, if you want to change them, but it will take time and effort.
    Thinking over your routines Twill make you think on where you think your line should be. That line, I think, is different for everybody.


    • January 22, 2012 at 11:37 am

      I think you’re right – routine shouldn’t stop people from doing things, but everyone is different. Some people enjoy more routine than others, as long as it doesn’t get out of control.


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