Expectations—Learning about Less Part 4

“All You Need Is Less” is my mantra of the year.

Yes, “Less Self-Imposed Expectations” was a hard, hard lesson to learn, but I was able to do it in part by listening to other people’s similar situations, identifying with them, and being able to envision alternate ways to view those situations. I came up with a Plan Of Action to Ensure Less Unrealistic Expectations.

First was coming to the understanding that it all starts with me. I allowed myself to accept that;

  • The world isn’t going to come to an end without my relentless efforts.
  • I’m not responsible for everything.
  • Just because I know I can, doesn’t mean I should.

And finally,

  • I deserve love, respect, understanding, and kindness from others, AND from myself.

Then I thoughtfully analyzed how I spent my time, and saw room for improvement .  I applied this adjusted way of thinking into my Less of a Schedule SCHEDULE!

So as I was writing this series, I have to admit, I did make some assumptions about how people view time and commitment.  I had to take a step back and remind myself that not everyone over extends.  Not everyone plans.  Not everyone thinks on Monday what they may need to be doing a week from the next Tuesday.  Some people have balanced, happy lives that are relatively stress free.  Odds are, they have already mastered “Less” without even realizing it.  If that’s you, you may or may not find benefit in creating Less of a Schedule.  You may think putting things down on paper is silly or a waste of time.  That’s okay.  But then there are those folks who truly do need ‘Less of a Schedule’.

And that’s when I realized there are just a couple more things to go deeper on before we actually get to creating Less of   Schedule.

As a master planner, I’ve lived by a schedule most of my adult life. One reason is because years ago I worked for a company that was all about time management.  Down. To. The. Seconds.  Time was money, and parts needed to be built quickly and efficiently.  So I spent quite a bit of time…managing time.  I guess you could say I was “conditioned” at an early age.  In essence, the manufacturing workplace became an “adult self-regulating environment”.  We were all programmed to know how many minutes, or even seconds, it took to do ‘thing a, thing b, thing c’, and so on.  I received a number of awards for developing time and cost saving processes back then.  Ah, yes, back in the day!

I. Know. How. To. Get . Stuff. Done!

Of course normal daily life can’t be lived with that kind of rigidity. Yikes, right?  But there is something huge to be said for self-regulating, and being consciously aware of the present.  Not everyone is automatically dialed in to be that way, which typically is a big part of the problem with over extending in the first place.  When you are consciously aware that it actually takes countable minutes to do…any…thing….you know what the ground rules are to getting things done, and you know what happens if you “break” them.   There is no “it just sneaked up on me” business.

I remain a master planner. The difference today is that now my schedule is far more relaxed. I allow myself more than enough time for my commitments.   I have blocks of designated downtime, family time and nothing-at-all time, and plenty of it. That’s what I call my non-negotiable time.

“But there’ only 24 hours in a day and I’ve got a running list requiring at least 30” you say. Here’s where rating your time comes in handy.  How important is it to get involved with “X”?  How important is it to say “yes” to “Y”?  What are we talking about in time investment if you agree to “Z”?  Who is affected and how are they affected if I decide to do, or not do, this thing?  What may I have to give up in order to help with this thing? When it comes to anything outside of your non-negotiables, these are good questions to start with before you make any commitment.  Gone are the days when we just say “yes” without careful consideration of what “yes“ will entail.  Gone is the need to conquer the world, do it all and be it all.  Remember, we’ve reached all those profound new realizations that are changing our world, right?  Right! Awesome!  Now on to the next item!

Perhaps the hardest part of creating Less of a Schedule is determining, and admitting, why you may need one. As you consider the things you really want to achieve with your day, do you also acknowledge what typically stops you from following through, whether you’re over committed or not?

Let’s say you committed to a work project that would take the better part of the day to complete, but instead, 15 minutes into it a memo caught your eye and you spent half the day researching and making calls about the memo. It didn’t pertain to you directly.  It wasn’t necessary to give that memo more than a glance, but there you were, sucked into it, and then, suddenly, the day was gone.  No completed project.  You’re scrambling and a frustrated team is waiting on you.

What happened? Be honest now…..

How did putting that commitment off effect those waiting on it to be done?

Who would you never dream of letting down?

What circumstances would it take?

When do you feel inspired to stay the course on getting a specific thing done?

What would it look like if you’d simply glanced at that memo and said “huh” and kept working on the project?

Or let’s say you agreed to be over to the party with the brats at 6:00, but as you were leaving your house you saw the neighbor across the way and a simple greeting turned into talk about the new shop opening. Then another neighbor came by, and then the husbands came out, and before you knew it, it was 7:35.  The beans were cold, the buns were dry, and your friends were eating their paper plates.

What happened?

How would you feel if you were the one waiting on those brats?

Who would you never ever consider being late for?

What circumstances would it take?

When do you feel inspired to be on time?

What would it look like if you’d simply waved “hi” to those neighbors and kept going?

Answering  questions like these may be a little uncomfortable when you lead with knowing it all starts with us and the choices that we make.  What causes us to take on too much is one issue.  What causes us to think it’s acceptable to put those things off once we have made the commitment is double trouble. Being able to honestly look at the answers could be a huge awakening, and eventually bring you closer to your best self.

In my world, the foundation of my decisions has always been based on integrity. I have a framed “saying” in my dining room that’s been there since the beginning of time.

Respect for Self

Respect for Others

Responsibility for All Actions

It’s been a constant reminder and mantra to me my whole life.  Back when I felt like I was falling down with over-extension I could hardly stand myself.   I tried to convince myself that people would understand.  I told myself people wouldn’t notice one way or the other.  I even wallowed to the point where I said if they really cared they’d of said something.

But that’s really not how it works. Unless they tell us, we don’t know what they think.  It’s none of our business WHAT the other guy thinks.  It’s not our place to make assumptions about it, either.  Maybe they lost respect, or maybe they didn’t .  We won’t know unless they decide to tell us, or we flat out ask.  Pffffffh and who does THAT?

The bottom line is, not following through is a choice, consciously, or subconsciously. It’s no one’s fault but our own for being distracted, or procrastinating or forgetful, or whatever happens to be the case (outside of things like innocently driving along and getting t-boned by some A-Hole on the road—or becoming dreadfully sick).  What happens when we make that choice?  Not only do I look bad if I don’t follow through, but my choices could also have negative consequences for those I’ve let down.  My choices affect me, and everyone around me.  We alone are responsible for making wise choices with our time.  With our life.

So what does all this have to do with creating Less of a Schedule?

It’s food for thought. Before diving in to creating Less of a Schedule, give some thought to your typical day.  Is it often a day of self-imposed unrealistic expectations?  With gentle care and without judging, ask yourself these hard questions:

  • Who is impacted by your current mode of operation and behavior?
  • How does not meeting a commitment effect those waiting for it to be done?
  • Who would you never dream of letting down?
  • When do you feel inspired to stay the course on getting a specific thing done?
  • Who would you never ever consider being late for?
  • How would you feel if you were the one waiting on someone?
  • When do you feel inspired to be on time?
  • What would it feel like to not be overwhelmed?
  • How would your life be impacted if you had more time?
  • Who would be impacted if you had more time?
  • How important is it to you to be good for your word?
  • Are you ready to make some changes?

Food for thought. Next time, the much anticipated Less of a Schedule.

 

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

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