5 Organization Tips from a Person with OCD

No, I don't wash my hands 100 times a day.

I was only diagnosed with OCD about a year ago, and it came as the biggest shock I've ever had. I'm not a particularly clean person and with the stereotypes about people with OCD in my mind that they clean everything and wash their hands 100 times a day (things I definitely don't do), I originally contested the diagnosis. That was until I realized I obsessively refuse to wear certain colors; I do certain things like cooking in only one way and can even cry if I'm not able to do things my way; and I'm hopelessly obsessed with planning, goal setting, and organizing.

Before the meat of this article begins I'd like to make a distinction between organization and cleanliness. For the purposes of this article, organization can be described as having control over your life and the surroundings you can control, whereas cleanliness can be described as simple cleaning measures i.e sweeping and dusting. I won't be teaching you how to mop in this article, sorry.

So with that out of the way, let's get to the tips.

1. Include even small, mundane things in your to-do lists.

A lot of articles about organization will tell you to make to-do lists, but they won't tell you what to put on them. Well don't worry, I'm here to help. In my to-do lists, I tend to include not only unique large goals like doing dishes or going to work. I'll also include tasks like flossing, putting on fake eyelashes, and the specifics of which passage in a chapter of a textbook I will study.

2. Reward yourself when you work to build good habits.

In my bullet journal, the most important page in my monthly spread is always my habit tracker. There are very few things that I find more rewarding than when I've worked on a habit every day for a month and being able to actually see that is so satisfying! I recommend either noting when you do a task in your planner or dedicating a page in a journal to tracking habits. 

3. Have a specific space for to-dos and a specific space for planning.

I use my weekly spread in my bullet journal for to-do lists while I have a separate desk planner where I note appointments and such in advance. I think writing things down such as doctors appointments more than once helps me to not only remember my responsibilities but it also makes me more efficient at scheduling my life around time consuming tasks like my work schedule.

4. Get a folder and put any document you think is important in it.

This is a common organizational tip, but for me even if I think it's only 50 percent important, I like to save documents. Things like my employee handbook for my job and my nexplanon reminder card go in this folder. I like to check the folder monthly so that I can purge the items that are out of date like student guides from my high school after I graduated and also to remind myself of the location of things like some voided checks for my bank.

5. Dedicate unstructured time in your day.

I like to set aside at least 30 minutes each day to just do whatever I want and to not allow myself to do anything on a to-do list. I find that having that time has decreased my anxiety surrounding deadlines and productivity. 

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