Developing a habit of different allows me to embrace the power of unschedule. My unique journey doesn’t have to fit into any box including the box of “normal work hours.”
It’s different so it will go against the expected way of doing things including the biggest rule of all:
That near command comes out of most events I attend – whether we’re talking social media, marketing, or life in general.
I grew to hate the word.
It’s not that I didn’t want to be consistent. I did. I still do.
My friend, Suzanne, once told me that her struggle wasn’t being consistent. “I can be consistent. It’s being consistently consistent that I struggle with.”
At that time, Suzanne and I were both homeschooling boys. Our schedules tended to fluctuate almost as much as the Alabama weather.
These days, even though my homeschooling commitments are fewer and my husband is here to help balance the scales, my schedule fluctuates from moment to moment. Being consistently consistent takes more energy than it’s worth.
Thank you Mickey Mellen for this post you shared over on LinkedIn. Talking about the different types of schedules and the reasons behind some of the disruptions freed me.
I’ve been struggling to get consistent in my routine and mentioned the other day that people often interrupt my plans. I don’t want to blame people, but sometimes they are just so easy to blame.
In the end, it’s me.
But it’s also because I have an inconsistent schedule – sometimes I have to deal with A and sometimes B and sometimes both 😀 All while trying to do all I need to do. And most of the time the changes come up without anyone checking with me first.
Yesterday, this would have caused me to stress – or at least as close to stress as I tend to get about these things.
This morning, I shared my thoughts on doing things differently, including doing business the George Costanza way. And in the spirit of doing things with a different perspective, I’m taking Micky’s post as permission to do schedules MY WAY which is to embrace the power of the unschedule.
Embracing the Power of the Unschedule
1. Make a plan
I start with my Focus Folder almost every day. On the days when I don’t fill out my Focus Folder, I feel like I miss out on some of my possibilities. The Focus Folder provides me some direction without being a directive. Even if you know it will change, by beginning the day with focus you will be able to shift with the changes. It’s like stretching before running. You’ll have more flexibility to fuel your intentional actions if you start with focus.
2. Practice focused flexibility
Speaking of flexibility, focused flexibility is the ability to bend with the wind, to see the detour and keep moving towards the goal, to change the step if the beat speeds up. I know what I need to do each morning. I don’t know what everyone else expects me to do that morning. Focused flexibility helps me stay limber enough to deal with the unexpecteds that I expect to show up. You can’t see it all, but you can be focused on your goal while being flexible in the all that comes your way.
3. Make the most of the little bits
Little bits are my favorite measurement. Homeschooling three boys taught me the power of the little bits. By using the ten minutes here and the five minutes there, I could keep the house clean (even when hosting 22 homeschoolers in a day). By using the twenty minutes between a meeting and an appointment to knock out a few hundred words, I’m a little bit closer to my daily goal. Find creative ways to use the little bits of time (and inspiration) to your advantage. Little bits may not seem like much on their own (five minutes here and there) but they start to add up.
4. Be okay with an unschedule
When we first started homeschooling I learned there was such a thing as unschoolers. These were the folks that didn’t follow a set schedule, plan, or curriculum. They just went where the interests led them. We borrowed from that and I dubbed us Structured Unschoolers. We had enough structure to know what was going to happen next (goals) but were flexible in how we got there.
In some ways, I’ve used that same idea in my business journey – or I would until I ran head first into that demand for consistency. But thanks to Micky and to the folks in the AT30 Zoom Group, I’m embracing the Unschedule. As an entrepreneur, I don’t have to do 9 to 5. I don’t have to do Monday through Friday. I don’t have to work because others think I should be working.
I just need to get it done. If that means I get up at 2 am and start because that’s when I’m up, then that’s when I’ll get it done. That’s one of the biggest benefits of being an entrepreneur. Your normal is just fine – whatever form your normal takes. Embrace your unscheduled or schedule your schedule in blocks – whatever works for you because that’s the only way you’ll work it.
If you are going to dare to be unique then you can’t also demand that your schedule be normal. The more you embrace the permission to do things differently the easier it becomes to stand proudly in the unscheduled.