We all have that one friend that always seems put together and on top of everything. Seemingly confident and happy, they go through life poised and in control. It’s me. I’m that person. And, I’ve got to tell you, behind the scenes, it is definitely not as effortless as it appears. It requires purpose. But, what happens when that purpose begins to change?
There are endless articles about the habits of highly successful/productive/efficient people. A Google search returned over 65M in fact. But, I would argue that while I am efficient and productive, I do not feel successful right now.
Success is defined as accomplishing a goal or purpose. Productivity is the act of working toward that goal or purpose. Historically, my goal and purpose was to always be available for my daughter. I knew the day she was born that my purpose here on earth is to raise my daughter. It sounds cliche. But as a former single mom and as a working parent, every decision I have ever made was based with the sole intention of being available for her. But, as she approaches the end of high school, l find myself seeking a new purpose. She no longer needs me to be available to drive her to theater auditions and practices, cheer tryouts or games. She does not need me to come to every appointment or drive her to work. I no longer need to coordinate camps for school breaks. My schedule, built on ensuring I could be all things for her, is freeing up as I have fulfilled my purpose of creating a vibrant, emotionally and intellectually intelligent, goal oriented young woman.
I am incredibly structured in my life and use time blocking as a way to organize my priorities. I struggle with lax timelines and “let’s just see where the day takes us” plans. I am meticulous about managing my time. At work, my calendar is blocked for everything from executive meetings to researching trends to brainstorming how to go to market with our next product. Quarantine and my furlough due to Coronavirus has had an impact to my otherwise impeccable life scheduling. Couple this with a looming empty nest, and my meticulously crafted schedule starts to look like a hamster wheel. But, it’s not. It has it’s own purpose.
I follow this time block schedule every day while quarantined and furloughed.
6AM-9AM – Me time – morning activities, feed the kitties, workout, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast
9AM-1PM – Professional development – take online courses, read industry news, connect with peers on LinkedIn
1PM – lunch
1:30PM-3PM – Current Project (blog development) – write new posts, marketing & promotion, connect with other bloggers
3PM-5PM – Mommy/Daughter time – plan dinner, binge watch shows or pick a movie, take a drive, sit outside and talk
5PM-7PM – Dinner – prep and eat, no screens
7PM-9PM – Veg Out Time – Finish the movie or show from earlier, delve into the abyss of social media
9PM – bedtime
Time blocking allows for free time with a purpose. But the endless repetition of the hamster wheel can be demotivating. That’s why I actually schedule down time (i.e. “veg out time”). This is time for my mind to drift to endless possibilities. Honestly, this is when I do some of my best thinking….because I’m not thinking.
WHY DO I DO THE THINGS I DO WHEN I DO THEM?
Putting structure around the unknown helps us cope. Positive life changes like an upcoming empty nest during a time when the world is full of unknowns creates increased stress and anxiety. Change is hard for all of us. A structured schedule of daily habits makes it bearable. It actually offers the opportunity to find my next purpose. Rather than aimlessly running through this part of my life, I can methodically think through the next step and take actions toward whatever that purpose ends up being. My self imposed structure provides a certainty in uncertain times. The timing of each event is important. As a morning person, I am most productive before 3PM.
Do you need help structuring your day? Do you have tips and tricks for navigating life’s changes that you’ve incorporated into our current global change event? Do you want to know more about time blocking your day? Let me know in the comments.
Empty nest syndrome is a real adjustment. My husband and I are getting ready for it. His kids have all left, but Lindsay leaving for college in a little over a year will mark the first time in our relationship that we don’t have kids with us. As a blended family, we have had our kids since day one of our relationship. Being empty nesters is scary. After 13+ years as a family, do we even know how to be a couple? Without the need to be available, I am free to pursue a new purpose. But, what is that new purpose? My scheduled life is my way of searching for this answer. Is my new purpose the next step in my career? Is it this blog and the community that I am becoming a part? Is it something else entirely? Only time will tell.
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