Obsessive Time Management

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General-population time management suggestions are fairly basic: Make a daily checklist. Then complete them in order of importance. This generally good advice is a plan for failure among those with obsessive personalities.

I am not implying that those with obsessive personality disorder (OPCD) cannot follow lists. Preoccupation with lists is a common characteristic. The inherent difficulty is actually crossing items off the list or knowing when they are done. You may cook all day, program all night, or tinker all week. Working on “the most important thing” can take days. By then, neglected items ascend to the most important spot.

Sorry to disappoint if you are expecting a lengthy article with detailed instructions. The suggestion is simple: Begin with items that can be completed within the shortest amount of time. Those 10-minute or 1-hour tasks allow you to cross things off your checklist before delving into an all-nighter with larger tasks.

Simple Action Items
  • Eat a meal
  • Empty the trash
  • Make phone call
  • Pay a bill
  • Change a lightbulb
  • Run an errand
  • Prepare food for the day
  • Correct to a report
  • Walk around the block

Simple tasks are often the ones most neglected. This can cause anxiety and strain interpersonal relationships. Now you are ready to tackle larger, more important tasks. How? By dividing them up into small tasks. For example, gather necessary papers. Check. Sort the papers chronologically. Check. Highlight key points. Check. Pretty soon, you’re done!

The satisfaction of getting more things accomplished within the day will give you—and those around you—peace of mind. This can reduce procrastination and help even the most obsessive feel A Bit More Healthy.

Kevin Williams is a health advocate and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple web­sites, including: A Bit More Healthy, KevinMD (WebMD), and Sue’s Nutrition Buzz. He is a prior 15-year con­sul­tant for Neutrogena Research and Scientific Affairs.

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