Photo Credit: Kari Shea, Unsplash.com

Written by Arlene Schneider
November 27, 2019

Does this conversation sound familiar?

“How are you?”

“Crazy!”

“How’s your day going?”

“It’s crazy!”

Sometimes that does feel like reality, but how true is it really that a day, in itself, is “crazy?” Let’s take a closer look.

We’ve had days in which we sleep late, the car malfunctions, and the traffic’s a hot mess. At some point in a day like this, many people feel frustrated and just want to go home and start over the next day. It makes sense to feel overwhelmed as we try to get to work and engage in daily tasks. We feel stressed as we attempt to navigate these challenges. What if we adopted a different perspective when an unexpected change occurs?  

Sometimes these changes are unexpected, yet sometimes they are human-made! Let’s take a look at what might be going on.

First of all, how do these situations occur? Many times, failure to set boundaries, overbooking, or overcommitment to other people and activities sets us up for feeling out of control and stressed. This is totally common and part of our modern lifestyle. The good news is that we have the ability to turn this around and take control of our schedules, lives, and emotions. 

Many times it’s a failure to set boundaries with people that cause tardiness or disorganization. If we’re meeting someone for an appointment and get a phone call . . . what do we do? We can answer the call and get involved in a conversation–then what might likely happen? Yikes, we’re late for our appointment! We rush through traffic, getting frustrated at traffic lights and with other drivers. We reach our destination stressed, and say to the person we’ve kept waiting, “Traffic was horrible, my day’s crazy already!”

There’s no ill intent in this scenario. However, this is how stress is created. Failure to set boundaries and overcommitment leads to feeling out of control. In my practice, I’ve seen this particularly with mothers of school-age children. Signing up to chair the auction, teach religion classes, and homeroom or athletic duties can lead a mom to feel like she hasn’t had time to care for her family or make a nutritious dinner. Sound familiar? I sure can relate! As a result, guilt, anxiety, and self-doubt occur. 

The good news is that we can take effective steps to manage our lives and schedules!

  • Before volunteering, pause and ask: What will this entail and how much time will be required? Balance this with other responsibilities and values.
  • Set boundaries. It’s perfectly okay to say “No, thank you, I don’t have place in my schedule to take on this task.” It isn’t another person’s responsibility to set boundaries for us. Once we empower ourselves with setting boundaries, it becomes easier to live according to our values and feel more self-confident and in control.
  • Set timers to alert you when you need to leave the house for appointments. Personally, I get confused about times. To help me keep on schedule, I set an alarm on my phone to ring when I need to leave my home–this simple step has been a lifesaver!
  • Allow some wriggle room. Although map apps are great, they don’t allow time for parking and surprise traffic delays. It makes sense to allow extra time for those issues as well as a slow elevator or other unexpected issues.

If your phone rings, guess what? It doesn’t have to be answered. Let it go to voicemail. Same with texts. It isn’t critical to respond immediately to every text.

In today’s world, many of us feel a self-imposed pressure to respond to every text, tweet, or social media post. That’s understandable . . . but think about what’s behind that urge. Where’s that pressure coming from? What’s the worst thing that can happen if a post or text isn’t answered immediately?

When delayed or late for an appointment, it shows consideration and respect to contact that person and let them know your ETA. They may be on a tight schedule and they can choose not to wait. Allow them to make that decision and show understanding. They’re setting their boundaries!

Clients who seek coaching to work on tardiness and disorganization find that these behaviors are symptoms of something deeper. Many times, disorganization and feeling at wit’s end are body and mind signals. Exploring and listening to these signals can be a breakthrough that can lead to a healthy and stress-free lifestyle.

Photo Credit: Kari Shea, Unsplash.com