Learning to value structure
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1
Structure is a word I have a love-hate relationship with. Its always been my nature (and my joy) to rebel against other people’s structures. They make me feel claustrophobic and resentful. I’ve always been a ‘colour outside the lines’ kind of girl and feel very much that the Lord created me that way and I don’t have to apologize for it (except for the glee I feel when thwarting other people’s structure, I probably owe a few apologies for that).
The last eight years I spent with the structure of going to work every day. My day at work was mostly built by what landed on my desk or in my inbox. The times when those items were cleared off resulted in a sense of freedom for what important but not urgent items needed to be done – because it was completely up to me to decide what to tackle. But what gets priority often still came down to what had the earliest deadline. So although there was structure in that – in terms of deadlines and urgency – the randomness of what I would deal with from one day to the next still felt freeing to me. And most delightful was being interrupted by those who walked in the door and needed a listening ear, or wanted to offer me theirs. Being able to respond to that randomness was the best part of the job.
Because of the structure of being away at a job every day, even my home time was determined by urgency. For working women, there’s always much more to do in the house than there is time for, so if you’re like me, you just tackle what’s in front of you and hope nothing gets left undone too long.
But now, my ‘job’ is undefined. Its still varied, but there’s nothing screaming at me to get done – except the dishes. They always seem to be there. And so I’m discovering that even I too, need structure. I need a framework and deadlines to determine what I do each day. Not because I expect to entirely stick to it, but because it keeps me going and doing the next thing.
My current structure says that I do ‘house’ things till 11 am and then ‘job’ things after that till about 4. But I was listening to a podcast while doing house things and that inspired this blog post, so I’m doing it now and its only 10 am. Which is what I love about structure that I create. Its up to me if I bend the lines and I don’t need to apologize.
I may be late to the value of structure, I know my teacher friends have been trying to impress upon me the value of it for a long time, but I do think that’s one of the things that separates those that do well as a homeschooler, entrepreneur or creative. It’s the ability to create structure that gives them purpose and success.
What podcasts do I listen to (so I forget that) while I’m doing housework? Today I found a new one called “The Next Right Thing” with Emily Freeman which really was the inspiration for this post, but also, learning to value my creative muscle as part of my job has been helped by listening to “The Creative Exponent” podcast. I listen to these on Stitcher.
I also created my own planner – again, someone else’s planner would just give me rules to break, but making my own meant it was exactly what I wanted it to be. And really its more about intentions, goals and priorities and less about appointments and timed structure since most days are like an empty book for me. I’m thinking about making it available for others – if you’re interested let me know!
If this impacted you in some way share it with someone you know! Bless everyone reading this by sharing your own experience in the comments below.
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