Dedication, Time, OCD

Somedays I think my life would be easier if I were an obsessive-compulsive.*

Let’s look at what I’m doing right now: Working a consultant engineering job, with its attendant time consumptions, busy putting in more personal exercise hours than I have since high-school, trying (and failing) to keep a bi-weekly podcast operation, trying (and not doing so well) to keep interesting content up on this blog, maintaining a house and yard, maintaining a spousely relationship, trying to catch up on my scrapbooking, trying to catch up on my reading, trying to keep up with my professional journals, trying to maintain friendship relations with people who don’t live near here, plus myriad other things. Ugh. There’s not enough time in the day. If I were OCD, I might have one or two of these that I MUST DO EVERY DAY, but as it is, I flit from one to the next as they catch my attention and must put in real effort to maintain a constant level of dedication to a project.

Jenn complains of the exact same thing as what I just wrote; she’s got too much to do. I need to take the advice that I give her: “Just don’t do all of that.” Of course, I won’t give up on my spousely committments, nor can I give up on my professional committments. I have a serious time investment right now in my fitness that I will not allow to slacken, thusly everything else sort of slides. Especially the yard (boy, do I need to edge the lawn, it looks like grassy octopi are attacking our road and driveway). I’ve also been reading a lot less than I used to, which is a shame because there is so much good stuff out there.

Probably the thing I could do that would most effectively give me time back would be to quit writing and reading blogs. That must take up at least an hour a day, and more on the weekends, plus my ~6 hours-per-two-weeks committement for the podcast. Or I could quit watching TV, but like the reading thing, there’s a lot of good stuff out there.

Alas, at the moment I don’t see a whole lot that would be easy to scrub. And truthfully, despite the slightly whiny tone to this post, I’m not feeling stressed by my committments at the moment. I hearken back to the days in college when I really didn’t have any committments (besides my wife and the band) and smile. Now, it’s time to go and upload some photos to flickr!

*CoverMyAss: I am in no way implying that behavioral disorders are good, or that I think people with OCD have it easy. This is a thought experiment and I’ll emphasize I don’t know anything about OCD that isn’t broadcast and sterotyped on national TV networks.

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10 Responses to Dedication, Time, OCD

  1. Kim says:


    (Let’s go red! APB rocks!)

  2. Annie says:

    Welcome to the world of adulthood.

    I have my moments of OCD*, but I tend to fluctuate between OCD spurts of accomplishment and down times of complete and utter procrastination.

    Also, the problem with my style of OCD is that I can’t dedicate my energy to everything on my list. I end up over dedicated to one thing, ignoring the rest, feeling guilty for ignoring stuff, spinning into a funk over not getting stuff done, just deciding that stuff didn’t matter anyway, sitting on my ass for a while, and waiting until the next spurt of OCD comes around and hope that it focuses on a different task on the list than the previous spurt.

    *In reality, I think I have more of an obsessive compulsive personality than true Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. However, I too admit to having a less than complete understanding of the disorder. (That’s not my area of psych.)

  3. Bill says:

    I’m very good at focusing on something to the exclusion of another and not feeling guilty about the thing I have othered. Being a reforming pack rat (I’m getting better!) I really need to just go through my office/basement/garage and GET RID of anything I haven’t touched for two years, or won’t within 12 months. That would take care of 40% of my crap.

    Related to that, I made a vow when we moved in to this house that we would move out with less crap. Not necessarily less stuff, but definitely less crap.

    (right now I’m ignoring task number three for this evening, which is to clean my office)

  4. Jim says:

    Better to live a full life with too much to do than an empty life. Stuff may get dropped, you might not be able to please everybody, and you might suffer from occasional mini-burnouts.

    But, you’re happy and you wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re interesting and enjoy what life brings.

    I’d say you’re doing pretty well.

  5. Jenn says:

    Two comments:
    1) All Bill’s time on his fitness is *worth* it! Serious. His legs and upper body are probably the best I’ve ever seen on him. It is NICE! Plus, as B & I have discussed myrid times, the focus on fitness is also part of our dedication to each other. By staying fit we will lead healthy longer lives–which means more time together and hopefully less sickness and bad diseases to struggle and nurse each other through.

    2) I’m more manic depressive then OCD. I have a few days/weeks/some period of time where I work furiously and accomplish great things. My mind races and I can’t sleep because I can’t turn off. Then I have periods where I have to force myself to work I am exhausted, can sleep all the time, and down. I accomplish very little and have little to give. But then this might be more of a evil loop I have created where the manic days cause the depressive days.

  6. Tom says:

    Just catching up since I let this fall by the wayside… sorry Bill.

    Anyway, xkcd has a potential solution and I absolutely love it:

    Now if I could just get my boss to approve it.

  7. Annie says:


    I think I have students who follow that schedule!

  8. Mike Cee says:

    Here’s the irony (if you can call it that) – I _do_ have OCD and let me tell you, if you did have OCD you’d be able to do NONE of those things.

    The thing about real OCD is, you get caught up doing absolutely meaningless things with your time (and you know they’re meaningless and irrational but you still feel compelled to do them). Like having to step past a counter the ‘correct’ number of times, every time you walk past it. Or (when clearing up your kitchen for example), having to put things in and out of the shelf a certain number of times. Which basically means if you give into the OCD, you’ve barely got enough time to get up, get dressed, go to work, come home and keep your house somewhat presentable.

    Beware the stereotypes, they’re usually very wrong.

  9. jack says:

    you fink ocd will be “cool”, but thats only the complulsive side, the obsessive side is far worse…

    this month alone i’ve had wierd thoughts finking i’m gay, a pedohpile and incest…

    whats worse is the twisted images my mind lets in, and the harder u try to get ridof them the harder they come back

  10. Bill says:

    @jack, @Mike Cee:

    I am truly sorry for your difficulties. As I mentioned in the post, I am not OCD, nor do I have any experience with disorders of this nature. I was likening the symptoms to my tendencies to flit from hobby to hobby, something I’m trying to curtail. I realize that the reality of the disease is far worse and more crippling than simply having too much to do, a problem that is usually self-inflicted, which is not the case with OCD.

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