Some of you may know already, but I am a Software Developer by day. Part of my role makes me specifically responsible for the quality of the software, although I would argue the entire team shares this responsibility. We have a bunch of QA procedures that are designed to ensure the quality of the software too. The idea is that everyone should follow the procedures and that this should guide us towards producing high quality software. Equally as important although not the focus of this post, the description of these processes allows us to explain clearly to other people what it is that we do to maintain our high standards.
So what happens when people don’t follow the procedures? Well, essentially things start to go wrong. Things get missed. Problems creep in. The quality drops.
This maps on to my everyday life.
I need to be organised. I can’t get focused if there is loads of stuff on my desktop, physical or virtual. I position my stuff on my desk in the same place every day. I guess I can use my muscle memory and it becomes one less thing to think about. I hate having bits of paper hanging around; I take notes in my logbook, but that paper is organised by the metal spiral running along one edge. The first place I worked when I left university was paperless, I loved that and I still try to maintain it today.
All too often the rules of life are unwritten and have to be learned through trial and error. Even then, rules that I have taken as learned I see broken by others.
I have procedures and routines for doing just about everything. I need to stick to these in order to make sure I don’t make mistakes and also to make sure I am in control of what is going on.
It’s not just about being efficient though. I really am unable to tackle something if I am surrounded by chaos. Yes, to me, having stuff all over my desk is chaos. I guess this is where the distinction between neurotypical and autistic falls?
Doing things my way may seem regimented and inflexible, but the flip side is that I know exactly what is going on. I can see things in the finest detail. I know instantly when something is wrong just by the disturbance, it’s a bit like a spider sensing the tiniest vibration on it’s web. If you take away my procedures and routines then you are taking away my spider senses. Not only do I have to deal with the feeling of change and uncertainty but I now have to try and do things in a way which is totally foreign to me. This all feels horrible for me and is extremely overwhelming and so I am fiercely protective of my routine and of the organisation of my world.
Organisation Theory: on one side of the earth an aspie does something using a well worn routine and this results in good things happening.