Getting Into My Groove (aka Organizing My Time)
Written by Laura Prather on July 24, 2014
Okay – so are there any other fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants business owners out there?
I mean I feel like I’m in a world surrounded by order-loving, perfectly organized O.C.D folks. I’m not complaining one bit. God knows I need them (maybe that’s why there are so many in my life)! But, hey, surely I’m not the only one whose planning starts the moment it is needed and I make it up as I go. Please tell me I’m not alone and that there are plenty of successful people out there who know where they are going and somewhat of how to get there… it’s just that it is in our heads and not necessarily on paper!
No matter how unorganized I appear to be, ultimately it usually works out beautifully. On the flip side, the amount of stress, anxiety, sleepless nights, and countless wasted hours take a toll and is definitely not fun.
That’s where a business coach comes in. A coach can gently (or not so gently) nudge us to do what we need to. In my case she has been hammering me on organizing my time AND working within that schedule. The first part is easy. I can’t tell you how many schedules I’ve written out and even took the time to make them look super pretty with bright colors and spreadsheets. I have several special notebooks to hold all those pretty pages in. Yep. I’m good at making a schedule. But actually looking at it after I’ve put it together and following it – well, yea, uh……
It’s not like I don’t want to have less anxiety, stress, and chaos. I do! I would also love to have my days go much smoother. It all sounds wonderful but at the same time the idea of following a schedule is like fingernails on a chalkboard (do they even make those anymore?) or feeling like I’m inside a little box with no air or that my brain is completely frozen (and not in the “Let It Go”, fairytale sort of way). If I’m going to let anything go it’s going to be my schedule!
So why do I resist so much?
I really have been putting a lot of thought into this because I have come to the conclusion that I desperately need to change my planning habits – or lack thereof (and also, my coach will seriously kick my butt if I don’t, and because I’m a people pleas-er). Even so, I know deep down I’ve got to figure this out if I’m to move to the next level in being a better business owner and homeschooling mom (let’s not even go down THAT road. If my son wasn’t such a natural learner we’d still be stuck doodling with finger-paints and flipping through a somewhat used box of addition/subtraction flashcards as a teenager!).
I like organization. I admire people who can schedule out their day, make lists, know where everything is. I know the benefit is that it saves time and energy. I admit I’m one of those people who has piles of papers everywhere BUT, I usually know what pile something can be found in (usually). I have moments of Martha Stewart inspiration where I start cleaning, tagging, filing, and organizing but then I can’t find anything!! Do I file by subject, name, or date? And when I choose how I’m going to file something I can’t remember if it was by date or name so then I never find it. Time is the same way with me. When I try to organize time it goes something like this: “Ok. I’ll schedule homeschool time in. Well, I can also blog while my son is doing Math – so then is it really homeschool time or work time. Do I use 1 color to designate that time or 2 colors? If only 1 color, which one do I use? The one for homeschool or the one for work? What if I get interrupted or I have to go to the grocery store because we don’t have something for dinner? Am I not allowed to go to the store?” Ack. You get the idea. Sometimes the idea of organization baffles me. However just because it baffles me or is difficult only means that I need to put in extra effort to develop the discipline I need to do it.
Bottom line is:
>> I DON’T RESPECT MY TIME so other people don’t respect it either.
>> A LACK OF SELF-DISCIPLINE
>>I DON’T LIKE TO SAY “NO” or “NOT NOW”. (Remember, I’m a people pleas-er).
We all know it takes quite a bit of effort to start a new habit and the fact that I’ve tried many times in the past and never made it longer than day or two made me realize that I really need to dig deep and work hard to get “into the Groove”. You know, the place where it doesn’t seem like every little activity or request feels like it is ruining your day? This is my first week making a strategic effort to work within the boundaries of a schedule and so far I’ve done fairly well. I started out very basic in my scheduling – selecting blocks of time for general categories. No specific tasks right now (baby-steps!). I’m learning I have to say “no” and stop feeling like I have to adapt to everyone else’s schedule. I’m learning to hold my ground when someone else tries to change my schedule when I know it’s not necessary.
Ironically, Monday morning, first thing, I was challenged three different times. Had it been last week I would have felt obligated to change my schedule for other people. Usually I respond without even looking at my schedule, but instead I pulled it out and realized I would be rearranging my entire schedule for the next 3 weeks if I agreed to the requests that were made, plus adding hours of extra time in my retail shop. They were requests that were not necessary or, told when to do something instead of asking if it would work within my schedule.
I’m proud to say that I didn’t blindly go along but I was able to make suggestions that fit everything in to my existing schedule plus make sure the needs of everyone were met! I’m not stressed out and everything is planned and taken care of. Ironically, instead of feeling out of control it is quite the opposite. Who knew?! (Well, my coach did, and all the other O.C.D people out there. BTW. My coach isn’t O.C.D. – just a lot more disciplined).
So I concede. Y’all were right and with hard work I’ll develop great habits that will make me a better boss, entrepreneur, homeschooler, etc. It’s the extra effort I have to put forth at first that isn’t much fun. But changing our thinking patterns is never easy.
Sooo…just in case you’re wondering…. yes, I’m still a free spirit so I purposely “scheduled” in LOTS of time that is “negotiable”. Just so I could still “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants”. Who would want to miss out on something so thrilling! It’s all good as long as it is in boundaries.
So what about you? Do you avoid making a schedule either because you don’t think you need to or are like me and don’t have the discipline to do it? Let’s encourage each other to step out of our comfort zone and grow together.
Here’s to hoping your week works out marvelously,
P.S. Here is a book with worksheets that helped me out tremendously. It is a quick read ====> “Tell Your Time”. Check it out – I think you will like it as much as I do.
Also, two more awesome resources where you will find great tips on scheduling and organizing your time. [Like I said, I’m not organized because I didn’t have the lack of resources, just not the wherewithal to do something about it until someone started holding me accountable and really showed me the value of controlling my time so it doesn’t control me.]