Are you full of should?

This week I had a very interesting coaching session with Charlie from Your Time to Grow.

I wanted to talk about how I’ve been feeling like I’ve got too much to do, and how to manage my time better.

It is a recurrent problem for me, I am a busy self employed person with many hats, and many people relying on my support. I am also the mother of 2 young kids, and a wife. There are A LOT of things to fit in my day, and I was wondering how to make it fit better, because I felt that I just didn’t have enough time.

In the past, before I became a mother, I was scarily organised. I was one of those people who planned everything, never forgot anything, and had no tolerance for people who didn’t plan or who forgot stuff.

I was a control freak.

Motherhood rewired my brain completely and I slowly morphed into a less organised but much more creative version of myself.

I wouldn’t trade my more laid back, less organised self for my old control freak self, because I feel much happier and relaxed as I am today.

But I guess some of that control freak mentality is still ruling me a little.

Through the coaching session, Charlie pointed out that when I talked about my day and my workload, there were a lot of “should”. I should be more organised, procrastinate less, do more of this, less of that. You get the picture.

I was full of “should”, and with the should, also full of guilt about the stuff I wasn’t doing.

The thing is, guilt doesn’t serve any useful purpose, in this situation does it? It doesn’t help me do my work any faster, it just makes me feel crappy.

I also realised that I am spending far too much time focusing on what I’m not doing, where I’m falling short of my own standards, rather than focusing on what I’m doing well.

At the end of each year, I tally up what I’ve achieved professionally, and trust me, the list is usually pretty impressive. But at the time, in the trenches, I often forget to celebrate my own achievements, and instead I tend to focus solely on my shortcomings.

Charlie pointed out that I’m actually achieving most of what I set out to achieve. It was very useful to have that pointed out, because I realised that not only I’m actually getting things done, but also that I don’t like to work with a rigid schedule, so that the mindset I had, that I ought to stick to rigid rules and planning, simply is never going to work for me . It got me thinking that it’s OK to work with more flow in my day, and this actually works better for me.

It was a bit of a lightbulb moment to say the least.

I realised that I am doing OK. That although not everything on my to do list gets done (does it ever?), and that it can take me a while to reply to emails, the important things get done and that I work better under a deadline than when I have plenty of time ahead.

And, most importantly, it’s ok to work like that.

Having this discussing freed me of guilt, and left me feeling quite liberated.

It was like someone had just given me permission to be myself ,rather than trying to work by other people’s standards.

I’m going to be experimenting with a new, more flowy way of planning, one that feels good and true to me, instead of forever seeking the magic tool that will fix my workload problems. Because let’s be honest, it doesn’t exist.

What about you, are you full of should?

3 Comments

  1. Charlie on May 12, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Love this Sophie! The ‘shoulds’ are guaranteed to keep us feeling guilty. Great post x

  2. Anne-Marie on May 12, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Really interesting and I think a lot of us who juggle work, motherhood, being a wife, learning and being self employed will recognise themselves in this!

  3. Attila on May 12, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Should means trying to meet someone else’s or oue own expectations. Failure to do so leads to frustration. Make a priority list and act accordingly. Avoid micromanagement, delegate jobs, count in minutes not hours (I have 30 minutes instead of half an hour) and do not try to solve everything – the important thing is: how this problem gets resolved (instead of how can I solve this problem?) because someone else may come in the next moment and solve this problem.

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