Structure equals freedom!
Let that one soak in . . . Structure equals Freedom!
Many of us rail against this idea because we fear that structure will become our master, that all spontaneity will be lost and that we will be forced to be a robot-like Stepford wife.
Yet we know that when we do what has to be done we are HAPPY! Yes Happy!
Happiness is the wonderful by-product of doing what needs to be done.
So, how can we put some structures in place so that they don’t feel . . . well . . . too structured?
I’ve studied this for myself (I’m the queen of developing structures and systems), so I’ve learned a few tips and had some eye-opening insights that have been very helpful to me and my clients.
Peruse this list and see what jumps out at you.
- Make friends with your calendar. If you are not calendaring your tasks, you’re leaving things up to your mood and to chance. YIKES! Instead, use your calendar (written or electronic) to keep track of things you have to do and things you want to do. Sounds like a “duh” but you’d be surprised how many of us only use our calendars for appointments. The calendar is a much underused little tool in our tool belt.
- Designate certain times to be the CEO of your business and life. When you put on the CEO hat, you decide what needs to be done, the deadlines, the means and the outcomes you want. Then on the other days you’re simply the “worker bee.” On your worker bee days you don’t have to spend any time deciding if what you are doing is worthwhile. You can trust the CEO would not have assigned you the task if it weren’t important.
- If something takes less than 2 minutes to complete . . . Do It Now! (Thank you David Allen for this amazing TIP!)
- I color code my electronic calendar. Each kid has a different color, networking has a color, and business development and volunteer work each have their own colors. Then I can look at a week or a month and get a feel for what’s happening and what’s missing. It’s a quick way to see if my life is balanced or needs tweaking.
- I write notes to myself on my bathroom mirror with eyeliner. Granted, most of these notes are affirmations, but occasionally they are reminders about what I want to do in my life. It’s a great way to start and end the day.
- There are boo-coos of apps that can be downloaded to help you manage your to-do list. The trick is to pick one and use it.
- Think about your own style and energy level. Are you best in the mornings? What are you like in the afternoons? Then assign tasks to fit your mood and energy. For example, I’m a better writer in the morning. Therefore, I schedule writing time earlier in the day. I leave afternoons for networking and household errands.
- Star charts are not just for kids who are learning to use the potty. Make your own chart and include daily tasks you want to get done. And yes, give yourself a big gold star when you are successful!
- Everyone gets a new 24 hours each day. Spending time regretting what you did not do or lamenting that time has passed you by only insures you will lose even more time.
- Wake up each day and embrace the time that lies before you. Go on an expedition for lost or underused time. Where are you frittering away precious time and energy you could use to move forward in some aspect of your life? Can you keep a book in the car for those times you’re waiting on the kids? What about cooking a week’s worth of meals on the weekend so your evenings are less hectic? Are you wasting time watching “The Biggest Loser” when you could be exercising?
So there you have it. Structure equals freedom so go out there and free yourself! You can totally do this.
You can so do this!
Cheri is a speaker, trainer, coach and has authored two books. She helps people and organizations break out of old mindsets so they can lead happy, motivated and fired up lives. She blogs to ignite you and help you get unstuck!