Are You Just Super Organized or Suffering From OCD?

When you see a really organized person, do you automatically think, “How uptight are they?” as judgement.

Many people confuse the ability to be “really organized” with a disease called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that affects about 1 in 50 people.

There’s a huge difference between the “very organized” people and those suffering from OCD. Those who are very organized do it because they see a boost in productivity, efficiency, and it provides a more aesthetically pleasing place to work or live.

Contrast this with people who legitimately suffer from OCD. They are compelled to line things up in a certain way, or to label things, or to turn knobs a certain number of times, or to wash their hands repeatedly.

One acts in a way that makes life easier (the very organized) while the other’s habits makes life increasingly difficult and anxiety-ridden.

Let’s begin with a quick kitchen analogy.

Some people organize their pantry and line up all their canned goods in order to find what they need quickly and replenish their kitchen stock efficiently. Those with OCD force themselves and others to line up the labels perfectly or alphabetize the cans. And when those actions aren’t done perfectly, it causes great anxiety and stress. Again, the action isn’t done for the sake of efficiency, but rather because the person literally cannot stop themselves from completing these actions either perfectly or repetitively- or both.

My sister makes fun of me because I put labels on some things in my kitchen. Specifically, I have containers that have bread flour in them for the bread maker, and regular flour in them for baking. The flours are different textures and used for different purposes, but they look exactly the same. For me, it makes sense to put labels on these things so I do not have to guess. I just grab the bread flour or the regular flour. This is a quick, efficient, and error-free system I’ve developed to help me from ruining my breads and baked goods.

Now, think about your next organizing project at work or home. What is it that you want to accomplish?

Do you literally want things super neat as a pin, all in order, and alphabetized? Or do you really just want to be able to find things quickly and easily?

Let’s again stress that being organized does not have to mean are suffering from OCD. Think of being organized as a habit which helps you to be more efficient and effective. Contrast that with OCD, where the habit becomes a requirement that actually slows a person or process down.