Being locked into a routine.

I go to a different coffee shop on Tuesdays when I am in a different part of town, but I go to the same coffee shop every day.

When the routine has to change, what happens? I get to work quietly after taking my laptop, ordering my coffee and taking my laptop. I know the staff and I am comfortable there.

The science behind decision fatigue helped me to understand my love for the predictable. It was a way to understand that changes and decision-making were exhausting for some people. In the past, I have written about the idea that decision fatigue can be alleviated by the use of automation. The success story for not busying your mind with insignificant decisions is often given as Steve Jobs and his self-imposed uniform.

When I couldn’t get a seat at my favourite part of the cafe, my usual coffee was ruined. The waiter offered me three options; join the boys at a table in the cafe, sit out the back at what is practically the bar, or sit in the area without a wall. We can get a lot done by removing small decisions, but does it leave us out of practice when it’s time to make a decision? I think so, I think so. I don’t think I will change any time soon.

It happened again. I didn’t get much work done because I chose the latter. I only had to think about how cold I was and how I wasn’t in my usual section of the cafe.

It was worse than before. On the weekends, I go to the same cafe in the afternoon to get a wine. This time, I’m using my laptop to do more creative work. I hoped the afternoon would be better since my morning work time had been interrupted.

I sat in the cold section again. I made a mental note that I needed to find a new place to live. The normal section of the cafe was removed for a function. I was told by the waiter that I could sit in there for another hour or so, but I didn’t want to be the one sitting behind the velvet rope.

I was able to focus and get some work done, but it was harder than usual. We have different levels of tolerability to routine and change. I don’t need to process the difference because I like routine and things I know.

I went back to my hometown. When they had nice, friendly French waiter, I used to be a regular there, but over time they all went home and the staff were replaced with less happy people. The internet is unreliable and that bugs me.

The key to self-awareness is self-awareness. My sister has the same parents as me and is able to handle anything. She doesn’t phase her when she changes. She gave me a heads up that she was changing laundry detergent because she knew I would notice a different smell.

To plan for slight changes or deviations from the path is the key. The amount of effort going into the new decision is reduced. I might go to a different cafe, but I am getting a long black with hot milk on the side. It’s not as weird as it sounds to the rest of the world.

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