Obsessive Compulsions

In this self study, I am going to be logging my own obsessive behaviours to see if patterns emerge from variables such as location, context, people etc


how are you doing this? manual entries? google sheets?


I’ve had some experience recording events that are primarily mental, like feelings, impulses, and attention. A few things I’ve learned:

  1. This is possible, and often very useful, but it takes some practice.
  2. For me, a key part of a successful project involving “noticing” subjective experience is a training period, in which I plan to discard the data, and simply concentrate on the combined mental/physical process of recording the observation. I often learn a lot, and change my conception of what is being tracked during this phase.
  3. When I’ve settled on exactly what phenomenon I want to track (and this can be something very idiosyncratic at times) and I’m confident I can notice and record it accurately, I focus on the recording process itself, trying to make it as light and non-intrusive as possible. I’ve found that even a slight bit of friction, such as pulling out my phone, can drag the project into failure after a few days.

If you want to track compulsions, you might give yourself some kind of experimental, testing phase of figuring out what you want to notice and how you are keeping the record.