I've always obsessed over little things. In high-school and undergrad I was constantly checking to make sure my alarm clock was set and on. In grad. school lab I obsessed over a couple of things in particular: (1) the Bunsen burner - was it off or on, (2) the door to the lab - was it properly closed and locked and (3) the air shaker. Now, it's the garage door.
During graduate school I tried combating my obsessions by creating routines. They would help for a while, but then the routine would become too familiar and I would alter it or add a step.
For example, to stop obsessing about my Bunsen burner, I would stare directly at it while I shut the door, thinking all the while, "See, no flame." After a while, this no longer worked, so I added to the routine. I would wave my hand over the Bunsen burner before I went to the door. I would get home sans burned hand, and remember that my flame was off. Eventually, I started freaking out about it again and just as the lab door shut I would ask myself, "Self, did you remember to wave your hand over the flame?" Since I was only 99% sure that I did, I would open the door and look again. The only way I could escape the obsessive thought was to make sure I left the lab while at least one person was still there. I guess in my mind this transferred the responsibility to someone else.
Locking the door to the grad. school lab was much of the same. Sometimes, I would go back and check the door 3 or 4 times before I could really convince myself it was shut and locked. At first I would just visually check the door to make sure it was shut, then I started jiggling the knobs. Eventually, I started doubling back when I was half way to the bus stop as I could not convince myself that all was well. Again, if I wasn't the last one to leave, the thought didn't even enter my mind.
So far, these issues do not plague me in post-doc lab. I think this is largely because the person who uses the bench right next to me comes into work around noon and as a result, always leaves later than me.
The only obsession gained since starting in post-doc lab is with my garage door. When I was in graduate school, my husband would drop me off at work in the morning and I would take the bus home in the evening. Now, I drive to work and when I leave the house after my husband I worry, "Did I shut the damn door?" At first, I solved the problem by forcing myself to watch the garage door go all the way down. Eventually this stopped working and I would find myself half way to work worrying about the garage door, so I would turn around and drive back to check. Yes, it was always fucking down, but that really doesn't matter. When I went back for a third time to check on the door I felt insane. Deep down I new the door was shut, but I just had to check again. I don't allow myself to double or triple check anymore out of fear that in a year, I'll find myself driving back and forth to my house 50 times every morning. Mostly, I just try to get the hell out of the house before my husband leaves so that the garage door becomes his "problem." God help me if I ever come home and find that thing open when I am the last one to leave the house.
I don't get this behavior at all. I do not obsess over large responsibilities. It's always little things like shutting doors or turning things on or off. I can still find the humor in it, but sometimes I feel like I am losing my mind a little.