It’s no secret that I’m a little OCD. Especially when it comes to things involving germs. (I am a voracious hand washer.) (Can one be a “voracious” hand washer? You can be a voracious reader… But that’s because you’re devouring the books… Eh. Too lazy to delete.)
But I realized the other day that I have such a strict routine for so many things that sometimes I go into autopilot.
Take, for instance, showering.
I do things in a very specific order in the shower. Shampoo, shave the “underarms,” wash my face, rinse my hair, condition, shave my left leg, shave my right leg, rinse my hair, wash my body, the end.
If one part of the lineup goes awry, the whole system falls apart. Say I don’t wash my hair one day. Then I can pretty much count on the fact that I’ll miss an underarm or a thigh while shaving… or I won’t get all my mascara off… or I’ll skip shaving an entire leg altogether.
Other autopilot activities:
- Flossing. I inevitably floss my upper right teeth twice because I can never remember if I did it the first time.
- Washing my hands. My husband and I wash our hands every time we enter our apartment. But sometimes I’ll have been home for 10 minutes and realize I have no recollection of washing my hands. So I’ll do it again, just in case.
- Parking my car. The other day, I pulled the parking break before shifting into first gear (which is how I leave my car when it’s parked), and then I got all confused. WHAT DO I DO NOW?!?! Because it is so firmly ingrained in me to shift into first BEFORE setting the parking break that there was no muscle memory for how to turn off the car if I did it the wrong way.
What kinds of things do you do on autopilot? What specific systems do you have for performing everyday tasks?