A Disordered Life

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Wait, are there actually people without severe OCD that have every single aspect of their lives organized?

Because that kinda sounds like a miserable, self-inflicted hell more than a useful skill to me, but perhaps I'm just odd.

Dr. Mark, thank you for this piece. It may seem like basic stuff for you, but there are a lot of folks out there (including me) who ought to find what you've written useful, as you say, on their own time...

I for one have made a decision about my life, when I finally get a job I will spend all my time working, playing games or sleeping, basically a working combo of the three (go to work, come home play games, go to sleep, go to work) and will have no personal relationships outside the work place.

I very rarely play games. I'm still absolutely disorganized in real life.

Why even try... the things have to be always kept in order by hand, and the process is laughably trivial and boring, which distracts from more important aspects that you actually care about.

An example of how dumb organization is, take the computer. It's always organized, or it wouldn't work. Yes, it's that dumb to organize things, and I guess some people are just cut out to avoid it.

Having said that, I let the computer organize itself or at least with my minimal help and do what I like doing the most with the spare time, letting the things organize themselves. That gives real pleasure at what I like doing.

Work: software engineer
Hobby: sound artist/composer
Gaming: An occasional game... maybe once per month.

Excellent article, IMO. It was not condescending, and Dr. Mark gave some good viewpoints. I know I have ignored others for the better part of my life. I'm just not into translating myself for others. I feel weird and out of place in "reality" but I'm good at doing the things I need to do to keep a little coal of satisfaction and peace burning for myself. Games, solitary games where I feel free to invest my own imagination in the virtual landscape, are like my only peace anymore. I don't like online games very much, but I love to get into single-player games that let me escape from this life of mine. When I play games, I don't feel like I'm "doing time" on planet earth, waiting for my clock to run out. Games have been the only thing I have lived for before. Not for the games themselves necessarily, but because other aspects of my life have felt so out of control. I keep my home in decent condition. I have extracurricular activities and personal relationships, but I don't enjoy those as simply as I enjoy games. At any rate, good article Dr. Mark. I have been given quite a lot to think about.

That's not always true, the most disorganized messy games have very organized porn folders

Disorganized is a broad term.

I often leave used clothes, lying around in my apartement. Then again, I live alone and am a grown up person. If the clothes bother me, I will remove them. If not, they will stay on the floor, till laundry day. I don't have a mother or a partner, waging their finger at me.

On the other hand, I am never late and never miss out on any duties that actually matter, like dates for exams.

So am I disorganized?
There is a difference between gross neglegance of orginization and simply not bother with things that other fancy important.

Nice article. Great question.

As you mentioned, I think there are a lot of games out there that actually are good tests for thought organization, like strategy games and role-playing games--games with a lot of parameters, a lot of pathways to reach a successful outcome but also ways to fail.

It becomes a question of where one chooses to devote their organizational energy: is is conquering a fantasy planet from a magical flying castle, or solving a complex puzzle game, or devising the next great Terran build, or is it washing the dishes or doing laundry?

Which has the greatest payoff?

When I get home from school, I prepare dinner, tidy the house, cook and eat my prepared food, walk the dog and do my homework. then I play videogames until a reasonable hour (eg. 9-10 o'clock) and go to sleep. That's still 3-4 hours of solid gaming everyday in an organised lifestyle. Do I win?


One click here will show you I am not a disorganized person. In fact, my TF2 backpack is really anally organized. My WoW packs less so, but still every bag has a purpose. Every item is neatly organized by class, slot and release date. Hats are organized by class then release date with promotional "all class" hats grouped thematically. Scrap or loose items grouped by matches for scrap, than class, than slot, than release date. I have noise makes that are alphabetically ordered and a dueling item set within to make a perfect rectangle.

Point? If you saw my room you'd think the Tasmanian Devil did 20 laps through it, went a got a burger than came back an did one more lap for good measure. But it's not because I'm disorganized. It's because of the crushing futility of my life, and the insignificance of straightening my room. If I clean, it will still look like crap. It will still have bare, messy walls and dirty carpet. And it will still technically belong to my mother, who will most boisterously notify me of that fact whenever I opine on anything.


I find that I swing between disorder and tidiness on a very precise timetable, namely video game development cycles. Whenever a new game comes out that I've been waiting for, I'm going to spend a lot more time gaming than usual. Similarly when it's a bit of a dry patch and I've burnt out on all my games I'll find I pick up the slack a bit. Kinda like right now, with all the games I care about being released either next year or the year after.

Eh, I'll admit that I'm not good with organization or keeping things super clean. But I've been like that since before I even started playing video games.

My room is somewhat tidy but my desk....well, that's an entirely different story. There's not a ton of 'trash'. But I have papers scattered all over because I tend to take note of some things and write them down. Most of it is video game related but some of them are also short stories

When it comes to my games though, I am extremely tidy.

With social interaction.... A lot of the people I actually WANT to interact with are over the internet. But, in real life I did discover that outside of my family I really am more of a loner and that I think romantic relationships are incredibly overrated (for me, at least).

Also, I've realized that I really don't need a lot to be able to function day to day. I have a low metabolism so I don't need to eat very often to be able to maintain a healthy weight, and ever since I was a toddler I've only been able to sleep 4-5 hours before I'll wake up and be unable to sleep again.

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