I Long For Structure. Monday September 14, 2015
[Audio version here:
If you are of a certain age, you may remember "boring Sundays". In the UK, when and where I was growing up, most business pressed "pause" on Sundays. There were no shops open, save for a few Newsagents. Everyone, it seemed, rested.
Whilst I now believe this was a good thing, as a child I thought it was boring.
Why? Well, there was "nothing" to do. My time was not structured for me.
I can vividly remember regularly going down to the tennis courts, where the guardian of the key to the courts watched benevolently with his pipe and Red Setter. My sister is four years younger than me, and, at that time, deferred to my seniority, even though she is a great tennis player and knew more about actually playing the sport than I did.
So, we would begin to knock a ball back-and-forth, to-and-fro, monotonously. Boring!
Then one of us would wake up!
"Hey!" they'd say, "Let's play a game!" Suddenly there would be a structure to our Sunday - a purpose.
Where time dragged and energy flagged before, passion would be ignited and the time would fly by. We even say this cliché: "Time flies when you're having fun!" My sister and I discovered the truth in this.
What we experienced satisfied what is stated as a basic human need by psychologists. Apparently, we crave structure - especially structured time. We may resist a standard 9-5, Monday-Friday routine but it gives us a rhythm to the week.
My Father is now loving the routine he has in his retirement. He finds comfort in structure.
Because of known rhythms to our week, we can have beginnings and endings, and a sense of closure.
As someone who directs my own time, I too often lack this structure, and, as you can well imagine, it causes a lot of stress. Nothing seems to have an end to it. There's always more to do.
So my suggestion today is to embrace routine like a long-lost friend. Seek structure where it does not currently exist, confident in the knowledge that your psyche longs for this. Add a rhythm to the day.
And, to be utterly specific, break your day into 45 minute segments with a micro-break in-between. Find tasks that can be completed within 45 or 90 minutes. Get closure. More than this, there is a surprise set of benefits awaiting you. Taking a micro-break that involves a shift in posture will "reboot" your lymphatic system, leading to more energy, more creative insights, and a surprising boost to your immune system!
You don't have to believe me, just test this for yourself and then share the results!
A Moodscope member.
Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.