Yesterday reminded me of the days when I would forget my watch. I’d feel off. Naked. A step behind.
I forgot my planner at home. Ever since I started using it, my planner has become a part of me, just like my phone or wallet. To forget it just set off my entire day. I was halfway to work when I realized it and was running late already, so I couldn’t turn around and get it.
How in the world did this happen? Because I didn’t follow my routine the night before.
I came home from my night with the girls to find that Starsky (one of my cats) had thrown up in the hall upstairs. And my steam cleaner that I had repaired wasn’t working. I had just put in a new hose, not remembering to make sure the water outtake hose wasn’t kinked. So I had to take it all apart and unkink the hose, put it together, then clean up the hallway. At this point it’s 10:00, way past my bedtime. So I quickly got ready for bed, forgetting to put my planner next to my purse like I usually do.
Call it routine, call it process flow – we all have it. We follow a process flow for work to make sure daily tasks are done correctly. We have a bedtime routine to ensure we get a good night’s sleep. We have a routine we follow on our way out the door to work. Sometimes we don’t even think about it – it is muscle memory. Sit in the car. Put on the seat belt. Start the car. Back up.
A lot of people see this as being OCD – if we don’t follow a prescribed order of events we are lost. It’s true, but it isn’t OCD. It’s human nature. Our brains are wired to follow procedures. It isn’t OCD. OCD takes process flows to a whole new level where the person cannot function without following a certain process flow. Like turning the lights on and off 5 times before leaving a room.
Have you ever thought about your own personal process flows? Or found yourself standing still, mind blank, because you can’t remember what you were supposed to be doing? If our process flow gets interrupted, either by the phone or kids, it will take us a minute to get back to whatever we were doing. Like making school lunches. As we get older, the time it takes to get back on track gets longer and longer.
Think about what process flows you have in your life. Your routines. What happens when you forget a step? How does it affect your day?