Aspies and schedules

I rely on lists. “Schedules”, I suppose, is the more technical term.

Anyway, the only way I know how to fully and adequately get the point across of just how detailed some may need to be, I’m going to demonstrate by sharing mine.

This one is mine for today. I typed it last night before bed.

  • get out of bed
  • glasses
  • brush teeth/mouthwash
  • deodorant
  • get dressed
  • use chap ice; stop forgetting!
  • food: nachos from leftover beans from last night (plate, chips, beans, cheese, heat for approx. three 44-minute goes, checking each time). {You’re welcome.}
  • you had candy yesterday; you don’t need it today. don’t get cheetohs with this, either; you had them yesterday, and you don’t need cheese overload
  • drink: grab 2 waters; you’ll go through the first one in less than five minutes, and the second one will last up to thirty minutes.
  • clean up some of the empty bottles if you can. take the lids off and put them in the bag so you can take them out later, whenever you get the chance.
  • look at to-do list for liz and code.
  • check email
  • get another water bottle now.
  • use chap ice.~
  • work on to-do list for liz and code (complete at least 2 items).
  • check facebook.
  • you can watch three episodes of House, or any other shows you normally watch, but you’re on Season 4, and I know you want to finish before you go back to your regular television programming OR you can watch a movie.
  • check twitter.
  • check email if you replied to emails.
  • get another water bottle.
  • go back to liz and code to-do list.
  • (and work on it. at least 2 items. you got this.)
  • get another water bottle.
  • you can watch ONE episode of a show.
  • just one.
  • …and use chap ice again. stop forgetting!
  • if you feel like making your allergy-free cookies, go for it. only they’re not allergy-free, because you only have real eggs and can’t make flax eggs (no flax seeds), and you’re also out of allergy-free chocolate chips. but if you still want to make them…
  • agreed. it’s pointless. (back to work.)
  • get another 2 water bottles. after these two, you can have ONE soda if you want, but remember how horrid you feel after drinking sodas. you’ll also get more tired than you are right now, so… might wanna just go with water, no matter how much your tongue is telling you it wants to taste pepsi. it’s not worth it, promise.~

That’s not even my entire day. To make it a productive one, I have to include most things. It’s in lowercase, because 1) it’s lazily written and 2) it keeps the letters at one case, thus truly adding emphasis to the letters in ALL CAPS, which helps me more than it annoys me when I’m not feeling like doing anything. I type it up in a post on localhost (my computer), “Save Draft”, and “View Preview”; when I open my laptop and sign in, it’s the first thing I see.

And opening my laptop is the first thing my Aspie self does.

The end of the day would something look like this:

  • did you eat dinner?
  • you don’t need soda or candy this late, move on.
  • you can have popcorn if you’d like, but you had it two nights ago, which means you can have it tomorrow night if you’d like, but you need to get more sensitive toothpaste, so eating popcorn will just hurt your teeth since you’re using regular toothpaste. (go for chips instead!)
  • get one water bottle. drink it.
  • you can watch up to two episodes of House.
  • shower at midnight; you’ll be out by 12:15 and dressed by 12:20
  • brush your teeth/use mouthwash.
  • put your dirty clothes in the basket.
  • make sure all dishes are in kitchen.
  • get one water bottle. you always think you need two, but you barely go through the one.
  • make tomorrow’s schedule.
  • check your phone’s battery.
  • sleep, or watch a max of one House episode.
  • now sleep, if you’re not already.

…and that’s basically how my day goes. I get mad when others think they’re “helping” me when they make schedules for me. Usually, their schedules are day- and chore-based, which honestly feels like I’m being mocked. I always throw the schedules away, because the schedules don’t help me at all — they hurt me, insult me, mock me. They’re so “basic” as defined by a non-autistic, and the filler in between that I need is taken as common sense, because perhaps only five-year olds would need my kind of list, right?

Yet, if I leave even one important thing off, it won’t be done that day. It won’t happen that day. If I leave out the “shower” bullet point, it won’t happen. If I leave out the personal hygiene pertaining to my teeth bullet points, they won’t happen. If I leave out “sleep”, I’ll stay up all night. No matter how many times I’ve went through lists like this, I still need a reminder. If I don’t have a list, my special interests take over, and I’m doing them for hours stacked on hours, ignoring my hunger and thirst and exhaustion and hygiene.

And hey, it’s not uncommon amongst Aspies, so no, it’s not just me.

If you have an autistic kid, consider making a schedule similar to this one. No, it’s not fun having the entire day planned out, but it might help. I’ve been reading blogs by mothers raising autistic children who make and use (or try to use) “basic” schedules like the ones people make for me, and they compare it to teeth-pulling, so perhaps my schedule example will help a kid in need of an understanding parent. Maybe.

Note: When I add a particular time to them, it doesn’t help. I don’t know WHY or HOW it works, but I keep time via television series programming: my shows are scheduled for certain days, and I watch them those days. If I’m watching, say, a “House episode”, as I call it, I’ll keep track of time better because I know each episode is about 3/4 an hour. I base my schedule around my special interests, allowing myself more time for said special interests, so I’ll be in a better mood.

I’m in the best mood when I’m doing my special interests; they keep me sane and relax me. I also stim during special interests, like rocking from side to side or back and forth, and it’s such a soothing thing. And no one stops me. When I can’t stim, you can bet I’m not gonna be a happy camper. When I can’t do my special interests, you can bet there’s going to be fire — and lots of it!

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Comments on this post

C’s gravatar

Holy cow that’s definitely a productive day! I completely understand what you mean when others tend to think that they can truly help by applying their “wisdom” into yours when who else knows you more than yourself? NO ONE!

I do hope you had a good day :*

Liz’s gravatar

I think a lot of it depends upon the autistic side as well. Non-autistics don’t necessarily need to have the “common sense” bullets included in a list of things to do. Others have time-based schedules, much like a work day, but they usually have free spaces. I can’t have free spaces, because I need to know what to do during “free time”. c:

Sara’s gravatar

OMG, I’m impressed, but also believe it’s important to do whatever works for you.

I leave sticky notes up. Right now, I have five hanging around the edge of computer haunting me:~) I have to confess sometimes I ignore some of them, especially if I’m in the process of writing something. That’s when I need an obnoxious alarm clock!

amano’s gravatar

Your schedule impressed me so much. I try to do it, but I failed all the time. x.x And if I failed, I go mad all the time. I just can’t help it. 🙁

Nancy’s gravatar

I rely on schedules much more these days or else the details will slip away and I will be unproductive :I. By the looks of your list, I can sense productivity everywhere~. No one should be forcing some schedule upon you unless it’s the manager or something but that’s not the case! Your schedule is already perfect as it is. Nancy likes!

Georgie’s gravatar

Interestingly enough, I felt that this kind of schedule worked well for me a couple of years ago. I have since stopped writing very detailed schedules/lists, but I make sure I write down the things I want to get done, because if I don’t write it, it won’t get done. I find I have to even write it more than once, more than twice, maybe even five times.

I don’t like putting time to any items either, I found that it just made me really frustrated. I just wanted to give the task the time it needed. It seems your list is order – mine are usually not, or they are in a rough order, but if I get “stuck” on something, I will jump onto something else.

“If I don’t have a list, my special interests take over, and I’m doing them for hours stacked on hours, ignoring my hunger and thirst and exhaustion and hygiene.” – I definitely think there are other people who can relate to this. I don’t really swear by lists anymore, but I know that if I don’t write anything… it just gets ignored.