Tick Tock

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Tick tock

I have a clock in every room.

Apparently this is a bit weird, at least according to my colleagues at work. I’m not sure exactly when it became weird though; I don’t think it was mentioning the fact I have a clock in the living room, or the one in the bedroom, but when I said there was a clock in the bathroom, that’s when the puzzled looks appeared and the questions started.

“You have a clock in the bathroom? Are you timing how long it takes to pee?”
“…. you have a clock in … what?”
“Is it for a time and motion study of your bathroom habits?”
“That’s just weird”

For the record, the reason I have a clock in the bathroom is so I know what time it is (obvs).

No, I don’t spend hours in the bathroom, but if I’m running a bit late I find it handy to know the time. Admittedly this is usually first thing in the morning, and is mostly to counter my inability to get out of bed when my alarm first goes off, coupled with my desire to leave the house at 7:15am (because any later and the buses start to get full of people, ugh), but … yeah, ok, aside from that pretty specific reason I don’t really have any good justification as to why there is a clock in my bathroom.

My obsession with checking the time has been with me as long as I can remember. I’d need to ask, but I’m pretty sure there was a clock in my parents bathroom too (hence why I didn’t think it was weird), I’ve worn a watch as long as I can remember (my Dad always wears a watch … apple doesn’t fall far and all that), and like most people who work in an office, my day is governed by the ticking of the clock both to make sure I go to meetings and to countdown to the end of the day.

Outside of work, I’m the person who is always early, sometimes 30 mins or more, because god forbid I’m late, right? (more on this later).

There is no doubt time is a big part of my day, it drives most of my tasks and actions, even the mundane things – like getting ready to go to work in the morning – are governed by a clock. It’s just the way it always seems to have been.

Clearly this obsession is unhealthy, hell, re-reading some of this and it’s positively batty, and logically I know that it adds to my stress levels and blood pressure. It also locks in a set of behaviours which can trigger some not good outcomes (what happens if I’m late? will people think less of me? will I be seen as a failure for not turning up on time? etc etc), including anxiety and stress which in turn drives bad behaviours which in turn … you get the picture.

Spirally spirally spirally EAT ALL THE FOOD!

However over the past month or so it’s been something that, with the help of a trained professional, has been identified and I’m now actively tackling. Turns out that this specific time checking obsession I have is driven by perfectionism, a realisation that has also opened up a whole raft of other behaviours that I need to tackle.

Phrases like constant checking, unrelenting standards, good enough, neural pathways, fortune telling, cognition… and many more. There is a lot to think about, some of it good, some of it bad, and it’ll be a steady path to a different me, one that I am happier with, one that gives himself a break and allows himself to fail. It’ll take time.

Speaking of which, I think step one might be to get rid of the clock in the bathroom?