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Structure Creates Freedom

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I’m always intrigued by people who are adverse to planning or writing things down. I wonder if they feel like they are being put inside a fence, with instructions not to jump over it. I wonder if they feel like there is no room for creativity, or no hope of flexibility. Maybe they don’t like their handwriting? I wonder if they feel like they’ll disappoint someone (themselves?) if they make a change. Or maybe they’re just stubborn, or lazy? Nope, I don’t believe that.

If you’ve followed my posts you know I’m a HUGE believer in the power of writing things down. Thoughts, grocery lists, project ideas, daily tasks, affirmations, scribbles…you get the picture. By writing things down, and following a plan, I’m creating more freedom in my day, my week, and my life, because I’m creating structure. When I get sidetracked, I can just look at my monaplanner© to see what I’m supposed to be working on. (No, you don’t need a monaplanner© to write in, but I want you to write things somewhere so you’ll know where to find them.)

Poor handwriting is better than a good memory.

I believe that people waste time daily, by trying to remember what they are supposed to be doing after an interruption, because we live in a society of distractions. Our cell phones and social media being 2 of the biggest culprits.

Don’t Do This.

Picture yourself sitting at your desk (or in your car, or wherever you work part of the time). You’re busting through a project, and your cell phone or laptop dings telling you that you have a new email. (Umm, if this is you, turn the alert OFF). (and if this is your desk, call my friend Eliza at Simplicana. She can help)

Because our brains thrive on that hit of dopamine, you feel compelled to check it, to see if you’ve won the “social media lottery”. You open your email, only to find a new Lands End email, with a coupon for 40% OFF TODAY ONLY! Not wanting to miss out, you click on the link, because earlier today you realized your raincoat was a bit too snug, and you need a new one. After searching through the styles, sizes and colors, you realize that your color stylist forbids you to buy one more black coat. So, you grudgingly close the browser, convincing yourself that you can fit into your current raincoat soon, after you get back on track at the gym.

Speaking of gym, you decide to look up to see when the new “BestGymEver” is opening in your neighborhood, so you can take advantage of their “NewPerson” special. Then, you come to your senses, knowing you’d only go for a week, and then feel guilty for making excuses for not going, and you don’t join they gym. Forget about the raincoat…you won’t melt in the rain.

Now, you’ve come back to your senses and realized you’re wasting time, but you have NO idea what you were doing before you got sidetracked. Sound familiar?

How can structure help?

Here’s what structure does for you. It keeps you balanced. It keeps you on target, so you can get that internal dopamine hit for getting the Right Things done at the Right Time. You waste less time, meaning you have more time for YOU. More time to do the things you want to do, rather than feeling like the proverbial headless chicken. You discipline yourself for work, and for play. And you get to do both.

If you’ve ever attended one of my presentations, you’ve heard me say, “I don’t care if you write on a Big Chief Tablet, index cards, or your monaplanner©. Just Write. Things. Down.”

Planning…it won’t hurt you.

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