This Is How OCD Affects Your Productivity (And What to Do)

Last Update on March 13, 2023 : Published on March 12, 2023
This Is How OCD Affects Your Productivity

OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder is more than just repetitive actions, intrusive or obsessive thoughts, and weird compulsions. When I say OCD, I’m sure you must have imagined a neat and organized space with zero chaos and mess, right? Well, OCD is many things, but most of all, it’s misunderstood.

If I’m a highly organized person, obsessed with details – then you might jokingly call me “OCD” – it might be true and might not be. This is just one example of assumptions people have about this disorder. Another common assumption is that people with OCD are highly productive.

Again, it might or might not be true. OCD, too, exists on a spectrum so you never know how this disorder affects each person. Some people may find no issues managing OCD and time, but then some could be the opposite.

Obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming – no doubt about that – and they are exhausting, making it harder to organize time properly.

So, let’s take a look at how OCD and productivity go hand in hand and what you can do about it.

How OCD Affects Productivity? With Examples

OCD Affects Productivity

We’ve already established that obsessive-compulsive disorder affects everyone differently. While some people may struggle with certain obsessions, others may struggle with compulsion. However, not all obsessions and compulsions can be unharmful. Some may even be rooted in harming oneself or others.

Just like this, some people with OCD may struggle with actions and thoughts related to their work. Here’s an example;

You are an accountant and you have this fear that if you are not careful with the accounts you’re handling, you might mess up and end up losing your job, which then would make you penniless. To avoid the anxiety caused by this, you spend your time rechecking your work or even ask your coworkers to help you out. This might cause you to slow down and lag in your work.

So yes, OCD can affect your productivity. Whether you like it or not, OCD compulsions can take time out of your day and when you’re missing time, it’s bound to affect your productivity. Another example for you;

If you have the compulsion to check your locked door, it may take a few minutes of your day to do so, which might make you late for work. You may end up feeling anxious anyway, losing focus on work.

Another example is;

You have intrusive thoughts of harming yourself. Even though you don’t want to, you can’t seem to shake off this thinking. To avoid acting on this thought, you may take some time to walk around or do other activities. This might take up your time. Even if you don’t, these thoughts might not go away and you may end up losing focus from your work, entirely.

Being unproductive in itself can be stressful and when you’re stressed almost all the time, it can only worsen the symptoms of a mental health disorder. In our case, obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The Two P’s Of OCD

OCD is often accompanied by the two P’s – Productivity and Perfectionism. Ever noticed how people with OCD are also quite adept at perfectionism? However, not all perfectionists don’t have OCD and some people with OCD might not even be perfectionists. Yet, perfectionism is what fuels the obsessions and compulsions in OCD.

Perfectionists are people who believe that whatever they do should be perfect and flawless. Anything less than perfection is unacceptable to them.

This kind of belief also gives birth to another assumption – Perfectionists are productive. Well, that’s not true. At least not all of it is true.

Believe it or not, perfectionism drives away productivity. Here are some examples for you;

  • Perfectionists are scared of doing something wrong, so they avoid getting started or delaying it as much as they can.
  • Perfectionists avoid taking unnecessary risks – big or small. It gets in the way of their work performance too.
  • Perfectionists fear failure so overthinking becomes a norm for them. They fear failing in a project so they overthink about them and delay starting.

These are just some of the common examples of how perfectionism in OCD can affect productivity.

What To Do if you think OCD Affecting your Productivity?

how perfectionism in OCD

As the awareness of anxiety and mental health disorders increases, so do the ways how to help people manage their problems. This includes time management. Between productivity hacks and time management apps, I think we’re covered.

Other than using apps, hacks, and focus techniques, here’s what you can do to work through your OCD before it starts affecting your productivity;

1. Therapy: Psychotherapy can be a great way to help you cope with the symptoms of OCD. A therapist can teach you how to control your obsessions, compulsions, and intrusive thoughts so that you can focus on work and improve your productivity.

2. Stress Management: Another thing you can do to learn how to manage stress. Stress can increase your symptoms of anxiety, making your OCD worse. Working on stress management can help you cope with stress and lower the risk of worsening your OCD.

3. Cope With Perfectionism: When it comes to OCD and productivity, we can’t leave behind perfectionism. To cope with OCD, try to tackle perfectionism. Understand how your OCD perfectionism is affecting your productivity and how to overcome it.

4. Be Self-Compassionate: Instead of being unkind to yourself if you lose focus and fall behind on your work, try to remain self-compassionate and kind. Focusing when dealing with obsessions and compulsions can be hard but beating yourself up for losing focus won’t help.

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OCD is a mental health disorder that can affect almost every noticeable aspect of your life – work, relationships, and social life. The best part is that you can learn to reduce the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder in all the affected aspects of your life.

It all begins with understanding how OCD productivity, perfectionism, and time management are related and how they affect your life. With the right diagnosis, you can get one step closer to healing.

OCD can affect your productivity but learning to seek help from a professional, working on stress management, and remaining self-compassionate and kind to yourself when you feel a lack of productivity can be a great help in healing.

I hope this article helped you learn how OCD and productivity are related and what you can do about it. For more, you can write to us at or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts in the comments below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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