Once upon a time I went to a therapist to talk about my anxiety. I left with the label high-anxiety individual with OCD. And here’s the thing: I was totally cool with it.
Knowing is half the battle. I always figured I had OCD and a minor form of dyslexia but I never did anything about it. Now I knew. Time to move on.
After a year of dealing with it, I’ve found ways to use my OCD to stay productive and to keep myself accountable. Now you’re probably thinking, “But Homeslizzle, that’s the point of OCD, it makes you do stuff.”
That’s true. But in my experience, it was all busywork. Clearing off my desk, adding and deleting apps, backing up pictures. Basically, it wasn’t real work.
Important note: I try not to blame anything on my OCD or anxiety, since I don’t consider myself to be crippled by it on a daily basis. That said, it doesn’t make things any easier.
Anywho, here are some of the ways I use OCD to my advantage.
Now, a goal of mine has been to blog everyday. Seth Godin also lives by this rule and he too is a long time proponent of Inbox Zero. And Seth sends out an email with his daily blog post every morning.
Where am I’m going with this? Every single day, when I get Seth’s email, I let it sit in my inbox (first I read it, because brilliant). And there it stays. That is, until I write my blog post for the day. Then, and only then, am I allowed to delete the email and return all order to my world.
Don’t Break The Chain
Jerry Seinfeld champions this method. Basically, Jerry would get a big calendar and put a big, red X through each day that he wrote new material. Eventually, you get a chain of Xs going and it becomes as much about keeping the streak alive as it is about writing. It’s a win-win philosophy.
When it comes to OCD, broken chains are fucking Voldemort. I also use this method for writing, meditation, and mobility (stretching).
No More Than Two Days Idle
It’s a very simple concept and it gets you hoooge, bro. For example: I didn’t like how my schedule looked for the next few days so I got my ass into The Dungeon at seven this morning for a leg session.
Again, if I go more than two days, my OCD and anxiety fucking tear at me. Which is a problem in itself, I know. But still, just get it in.
Track That Shit
Some might say that tracking habits can be counter-productive for someone with anxiety and OCD, and that may be true. It was certainly true for me at the beginning. That said, I’m to a point now where I can handle it and I fucking love it. I use the Way of Life app to track all of my habits. I highly recommend it.
I wrote a piece on productivity for writers over at Mash, click here if you want to check it out. It has a bunch of tips for writers and normal civilians alike.