Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Too Perfect Tuesdays - Chap 9 - Two Month Leisure Reclamation - Part Two

Working to get back on track here. Hey, this is the anti-perfectionism blog, you know!

This post continues with A Two Month Leisure Reclamation Program from Chapter Nine.

This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.


When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992.  If   you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.

If work has taken over your life, are you willing to try an experiment? For a limited period of time, can you spend less time working and more time living? To achieve that goal, I suggest you make the following changes for two months. <snip>

5.  Any time you slip into ruminations or worries about work, do the thought-stopping exercise: slap your thigh or blink, breathe deeply, tell yourself, "That's not helping," and refocus your thoughts.

6.  Strictly limit the time you spend on chores. Before tackling any project, ask, "Is this really so important? Do I want to spend most of my 'off' time for the rest of my life worrying about things like this? <snip>

As with professional tasks, the list of personal task that you "need to do" will never end, so don't have that as your goal. It's unreasonable to refuse to enjoy yourself just because you have unfinished chores, since you'll have them for the rest of your life. <snip> Obsessives tend to get caught up with maintenance, at the expense of really living. They spend extra time ordering, fixing, straightening, tending to small details, as life speeds by. <snip>

Fed up with housework
"Fed up with housework" by Alaskan Dude
via Flickr Creative Commons

7.  If you have the opportunity to refuse extra work, do so, if only during this two-month period. <snip>

The same advice [consult a trusted friend for perspective] applies if you're tempted to decline a promotion because you're already working too hard. Obsessives typically pride themselves on their capacity to do enormous amounts of work, and they sometimes forget that they are also valued for other qualities.  <snip>

Isn't it reasonable to be able to say occasionally, "I'm sorry, but I'm just swamped right now and can't take that on at the moment"? Chances are good that you are much more important to your employer than you realize.

8.  During activities with family or friends, be in the moment, even if you have left work to be done. Don't let yourself think of your spouse or children as nuisance that are keeping you from more important things. Take an active interest in their conversation. Really listen to what they are saying, instead of tuning them out to ruminate about work-related problems.

Running circles on the beach, young female child circles her mother who is holding her welcoming arms out.
via mikebaird at Flickr Creative Commons
This mom & daughter are wonderfully "in the moment" with each other.

<snip> Now is the time to enjoy life. Remember, none of us can know for certain that we have any time other than the present moment.

As those of you who read the post directly before this one know, I have recently been forcibly reminded that we don't know for certain we will ever have any time other than the present moment, with the death of my friend Sid just a few weeks ago.

The world won't stop if we let the work go, once in a while. It is important to focus on the people and events that fill our hearts and spirit - and that shouldn't be paperwork and work-work all the time.

I "get" it. I have a busy and demanding day job, and sometimes it feels like I come home from that and plunge right into writing and research for this blog (or my other writing projects). But... I am getting on track to cut back and take more time for me, for things I enjoy (though I do enjoy writing), and for being with my friends and family.

If you have children or a partner, and, stars forbid, something happened to one of them, do you want your last memory of your time together to be of you absently mumbling, "Uh-huh, uh-huh," as you were focused on your laptop or smartphone? That you missed your shy child's debut as a tree in the school play because you got a last minute chance to put in some overtime?

If you let "work" consume all your leisure time, it is just as much an addiction as alcohol or crack cocaine.  You are not virtuous, you are an addict.

And if you always choose work over relationships, eventually work will be all you have left.

Have you tried any of the tips, above?
Lost someone you loved, that you wished
you'd spent more time with?
Your thoughts?