Why structuring your days and weeks is NOT bad for you

by Carol Williams

If you resist structure because you want to remain ‘more open’ and flexible, you are not alone.

Resistance takes energy. You only have so much energy.  So the first thing to do is change your language. It’s not STRUCTURE or a SCHEDULE or DISCIPLINE (YUCK!!!) It’s Routine.  Routine will set you free.

As an entrepreneur, you love flexibility. It’s likely that this is a big reason why you chose this life to start with, yes? To have freedom and flexibility. Want a day off? Take it. No “boss” to ask. Want to go outside for a break then work late? Totally doable. You can go see your kids’ games for a change. You are not “chained” to your desk as if you were working “for the man.”

Many of the people I work with have referred to themselves as “wild horses” or “free spirits.” And this is so beautiful! OR they have said “I just need to discipline myself to stick to a schedule.” From what I have experienced, neither of these thought patterns are helpful to the desired end result: Peace, Productivity, Profits…and FUN….all of these – not either/or.

So then, what’s the problem?

The problem is, too much flexibility offers too much choice. Too much choice can lead to overwhelm or procrastination in decision making. There is actually a NAME for this. It’s “decision fatigue.”  With this fatigue on our brains,   “discipline” becomes so much harder, knowing we have to make decisions to what to do next, what ought to be done versus what needs to be done versus what you want to be doing.  Yikes, this is exhausting just reading it.

Having a daily and weekly and even monthly structure and routine will set you free. It’s an outline, not a death sentence. In fact, you might consider it your Guiding Light.

When your mind is focused on the task in hand, rather than stuck in planning mode, you will naturally allow headspace (not to mention time) for creative thought. You’re not bogged down with the worry of what to do next – you’ve already made that decision.

I hear you. “I don’t like to do the same thing again and again- I will get bored.” Right. This is the Dopamine in your brain telling you to mix it up. We love dopamine, particularly when we have AD/HD. AND what we know is….we do BETTER at life with routine. Like, significantly better. How often have you “just forgotten” to do something? This can be everything from getting a photo to a friend on your phone to doing a household chore for your loved ones (you promised and you meant to) to responding to that client or colleague. You can still get your dopamine….do not worry. On your own terms. YES you can re-train your brain. (Yippee!)

The gap between INTENTION and ACTION = lack of Trust. And people hire people who they Know, Like, and Trust. If you are an entrepreneur with AD/HD, you most likely have the “know and like” down pat. It’s the trust. Yes, this is when opening your mind and allowing the possibility of Routines that are Fun and Flexible and Productive into your possibility-window.

Here’s what Psychology Today says about habits and routines:

“For most people most of the time, habits are created unconsciously, and they are carried out automatically. Habits help us all to do the many hundreds of things we need and want to do in our lives. Because we can carry out a habit without having to think about it, it frees up our thought processes to work on other things. It’s a clever trick that our brains have evolved to make us more efficient.” Read more

So, biologically, we form habits to help ourselves become more efficient. Adding structure to your daily, weekly and monthly living, really will create the freedom you crave.

I’m not sure if you “needed convincing” and if you have, hopefully that’s behind us now. So what do you do? Well….you’ll need to hang tight until next week, when we’ll explore how you can develop a rhythm and still allow for the unexpected.

For more great management tips see our Management Course.







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