I was thinking about routine this morning as I was walking from the T to work. I got started thinking about it because I always walk to same way from the Arlington T stop to my work. There are actually two different ways I could go, but I always take the one way.
I started thinking about other routine parts of my life. The one that jumps out at me most is what I do with my wallet, cell phone, and keys. My cell phone goes in my right front pocket, my keys go in my left front pocket, and my wallet goes in my right back pocket. When I get to my desk at work, I am carrying my ID badge, from just having let myself in the door. I set the badge down on my desk. I take off my backpack and set it on the extra chair. I take off my coat. I take my cell phone, keys, and wallet out of my pockets and put them in the middle compartment of my backpack. I put my ID badge in my right front pocket, where it remains until the end of the day. At the end of the day, I put my ID badge in the middle compartment of my backpack, take my cell phone, keys,a nd wallet out, and put them in the appropriate pockets. When I get home, my cell phone, keys, and wallet all go in the same place by the CD player. Repeat.
Now, I didn't set out to establish this routine. I don't do it because I think it will help me not forget things (although it does do that). It's just what I automatically settled into. And everything feels right and comfortable when I do it according to that routine. I don't even think about it most of the time. And breaking from that routine is very noticeable. The couple of times I have left my keys in the front door, I have noticed right away when I went to put my cell phone and wallet in their usual spot and noticed that I couldn't put my keys in their usual spot.
Offhand, I can't think of any other daily routines that I have like that. Consciously, I seem to not like routine, but that little bit of routine with my cell phone, keys, and wallet is the most natural thing in the world to me.