Phrases like “because that’s how it’s always been done” or “that’s the way we do it here” or “that’s just the way I was taught” trigger nearly every mental alarm bell I have. (Fight-or-flight and other alarms of survival are silent, I don’t get that worked up about it.)

When I hear one, I immediately want to find a different way of doing…whatever it is. Or at least poke at The Way™ enough to feel comfortable that it isn’t the worst way of doing…whatever it is.

But when it’s something mundane or quotidian that I’ve never thought much about before, I get really curious about what The Way™ should be. (Similar to when I realize I’m using a brand or product type becuase it’s the one I grew up with, I immediately start paying attention to alternatives.)

The most recent iteration of this is flossing. One night, mid-teeth brush, I started wondering if it’s better to floss before or after brushing. I floss after (when I remember, or overcome the laziness) because, well, because I do.

Actually, that’s not true, I used to floss in the middle of brushing. It seemed the best time to do it was after taking care of any big, gnarly stuff but before finishing up so I could clean under whatever the floss removed. I think I stopped because there wasn’t a great place to put my brush down mid-brush without making a bit of a mess.

Anyway, long story short, general consesus on this topic seems to be: you do you. But there may be slightly more benefits to doing it first if you feel like there must be a Best Way™ and that’s the way you want to do it.

And, of course, doing it is better than not.

(A previous iteration was loading the dishwasher, but that topic is way too contentious for me to want to talk about it in public.)