Finding time to get everything done requires that you do some planning. If you don’t, you’ll be at sea in the midst of a floating array of seemingly random (and demanding) tasks, priorities, and dreams.
And planning requires both focus and flexibility. I emphasize flexibility because so often, when we develop plans, our attitude is that we need to stick to them no matter what!
There’s a whole world of difference between disciplined follow-through and rigidity. Think about how you feel when met by someone else’s rigid response to a change. Do sparks fly? Do you seethe inside? Do you feel responded to or rebuffed?
That’s what can happen when your PLAN becomes your priority … rather than whatever your priority actually was to begin with. When you’re moving toward rigidity, you are becoming so committed to your PLAN that you let other parts of your life suffer. Relationships can be the first casualty.
So how do you learn to tell the difference between when you’re being focused-but-flexible and when you’re being rigid in your daily living?
Well, first off, have you thrown your judgment out the window? Follow-through builds trust and is very, very important. However, follow-through “no matter what” means that you are not really taking responsibility for exercising judgment and making adult choices. Circumstances sometimes DO interfere with our plans. That is a reality of human life.
So, being realistic about your planning and factoring in some flex time can leave space for the unexpected and can actually PROTECT the flow of your day!
When you are feeling rigid, view it as a red flag. It’s telling you that you are trying to focus but have lost your balance. This can happen to anyone! When you notice this happening, take a deep breath and step back. Ask yourself …
* “What are my central commitments?”
* “How can I adjust to what is happening in this moment?”
* “Is there anything I can let go of right now?”
Maybe you will shift things around; and maybe you won’t. The important thing is to check in with yourself and own your choice. The red flag helps you pause and readjust your perspective.
Focus and flexibility are skills you can build! As you do this skill-building, you’ll find that self-reference is one of your best allies. Keep checking in with yourself to find your balance. You’ll feel more and more comfortable and agile, as you navigate your day by flexing here, and holding firm there.
Finally, always reflect on your results – not with a critical eye, but with friendly objectivity. This allows you to build on your experience and deepen your trust in yourself and your judgment.
Do you find it easy to feel balanced when it comes to focus and flexibility? Or do you fall back on rigidity to maintain your boundaries and get things done? Ready to try something different?© Copyright 2010 Paula Eder, Ph.D.