Being disorganized adds stress to my life, and I would argue to most people’s lives. Though while “Be Organized” is the fourth of my Six Simple Rules for a Better Life, I’ve also been trying to avoid placing too much importance on being organized of late; otherwise being disorganized becomes extra stressful for me. “Everything in moderation” is probably called for to avoid being organized to a fault.

I write down everything—my calendar, to-do list, goals, achievements, shopping lists, and more. Because I rely on writing down everything, if I don’t write it down it won’t happen—meaning, if it’s not on my calendar, the appointment won’t happen; if it’s not on my to-do list, I won’t do it.

Some people like to throw around the term “anal”. Here’s a Wikipedia excerpt: “The term anal retentive… commonly abbreviated to anal, is used to describe a person who pays such attention to detail that the obsession becomes an annoyance to others…”

I’ve also heard OCD. I’ve never cared when people say those things, and I even embraced it when someone close to me once said, “You have OCD, but it works for you.” But, I did begin to be more sensitive to the subject when I heard it’s inappropriate to throw those terms around because it’s making light of what can be a debilitating condition.

And, besides, labeling people isn’t nice. According to the mental health commission of Western Australia, three out of four people with a mental illness report that they have experienced stigma. “When a person is labelled by their illness they are seen as part of a stereotyped group. Negative attitudes create prejudice which leads to negative actions and discrimination.”

I thought about all of this recently when I saw someone wearing a shirt that read, “I’m CDO. It’s just like OCD only it’s in alphabetical order, as it should be.” That person probably doesn’t have OCD. They probably are more like me. Kind of hyper-organized, and enjoy humor at their own expense.

While I understand the humor, and humor is a huge part of my life, including the self-deprecating kind, until there is no stigma attached to mental illness, or illness of any kind (and unfortunately, we don’t seem to be close to that time), despite possibly having some tendencies associated with people with OCD, I’ve decided to avoid the casual use of that term.

But I won’t give up being organized. It is definitely part of a better life. For example, if I didn’t write things down, I would forget things. It’s much easier for me to remember just these two things: (1) write everything down, (2) remember to regularly look at my calendar and to-do list.

What do you think? Please join the conversation with your comments…

Best regards,