Being a woman, who is smack in the middle between structured and unstructured, I tend to see both sides of the to schedule or not to schedule debate. And depending on where you fall on this scale of either beautiful chaos or rigid order, you likely are gazing at the proverbial green grass on the other side. The unstructured woman will long for the day when she actually feels caught up and able to find her sofa, dinner table, and bedroom floor. Where the rigid perfectionist dreams of having time to just enjoy her life, to take off and just do something fun. Well, ladies, you can learn from each other. With a few tricks taken from both extremes, you can find balance and get things done.
To The Unstructured Soul:
Life enjoyment, spontaneity, and living in the moment are the mantra of these precious carefree souls. They are usually smiling while taking an unplanned walk in the park or purchasing a pair of yummy shoes on an impulse shopping trip with her best bud. However, the frown comes when she is late getting dinner made for the crew and her home looks as though a tsunami hit.
Key #1: Don’t ever try to be someone you’re not. That said, I’m not going to tell you to grow up and stop being irresponsible, because it’s not going to help you. You are who you are…period. But what I can tell you is that it’s OK to be who you are, it’s your behavior that needs to change just a tad. Instead of always leaving every minute of your life to chance and the blowing breeze, try setting up a reward system for your daily tasks. Like if you get the dishes and laundry done, then you get to choose one out of five activities you’ve pre-selected. If it motivates you more, put all five in a hat and draw the winner! This is great for children too! Knowing that you have something to look forward to helps keep you on track. Another trick is to plan something fun that requires you to get your chore(s) done first. For example: Plan a dinner party for the weekend. You will naturally want to get your cleaning and organizing done before your quests arrive.
To The Structured Soul:
For you, if it isn’t on the books, it’s not even in your world. Change and changing plans is excruciating. Your life is full of deadlines and vision for the future. Each step is calculated and costs are counted. But what about leaving some time to just live? “But I am living, thank you very much,” you say. OK, yes, you are living, but there are times when you wish you could just stop checking your Google calendar, Blackberry, or date book, right?
Key #2: Don’t ever try to be someone you’re not. Yes, we need you human Franklin Planners to be YOU too! This key is a little harder to execute for you because you thrive on order. Releasing it may cause stress. So, my idea is for you to choose three enjoyable activities that lend themselves to spontaneity but aren’t completely without order. Now, these three things are put on your calendar as though they are appointments. Come up with a couple main objectives with doing these activities. For example: If I go to the park with my kids, I will be getting my exercise and spending quality time with them. Write this note in your planner or type in your online calendar. Multitasking for a structured person is pure heaven. Allowing yourself to enjoy the time without over structuring the event will teach you to let go just a little. Another great thing to do is allow your family or friends to choose the activity on a day or time of your choosing, that way it’s a surprise but you’ve pre-selected the block of time and marked it down.
To The Gals In Between:
Hey, soul sisters! I’m with you all the way! My issues are consistency based. I tend to get hyped up about a project and then lose steam half way through. Sound familiar? I get bored easily and always look for new things to do. Though I try to plan my day with good intentions, it doesn’t always get accomplished. We can learn from both of our extreme sisters up there. We need discipline, but we also need fun, unplanned activities to keep us energized.
Key #3: Again, you are who you are, so don’t be too rushed to go change everything in one day. Balance is your key. Literally picture yourself on a tightrope. It’s a little scary, but most of the time, you can get to the other side without falling. I believe what works for me is keeping it all within my sight. If I need to get a project or article done, I keep the reminder up on my computer desktop or a post it on the fridge. I do also like putting things on the calendar. However, if I get frustrated or bored, I listen to the other side’s cry for attention. I simply take a break and do something creative or fun for a specified amount of time, then return to my planned project. When the housework is slipping through my fingers, I look around and see what is bothering me the most. I do that task first instead of putting it at the end of my day, when I know I will be too distracted or tired to accomplish it.
Please share your “get it done” strategies with us! And don’t forget to give yourself a break and just find the balance.
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