Coping with lack of structure

Listening to the girls get up this morning to get ready for school, and back into the routine and structure that this entails, it struck me how different my life now is from this standard nine to five pattern.

Unless I am working with a client, or have booked meetings or phone calls, my days are pretty free-form. This is both a curse and a blessing. When I am focussed and motivated it is a blessing, as I can shape my day around the things I have to do and the best times to do them. When I am down on energy and drifting it is a curse as any attempt to turn my mood around is up to me.

Over the years I have deployed many productivity techniques to help with this, from being a big Getting Things Done advocate for many years, to now using my calendar to assign a time for all but the smallest tasks and responding like a trained rat when the alarm goes off. I can of course find ways to duck and dive and avoid my best attempts at structuring my efforts and end up back where I started. Part of the answer is that even those that work in offices nine to five spend large parts of that time not being particularly productive or focussed and I sometimes think that being responsible for this ourselves makes us hyper critical of our behaviours.

I reckon more and more people are going to work freelance, or some variant on the home working/part time model. Working out how to do this to best effect, without descending into a guilt ridden, sado-masochistic sloth, is going to be a skill worth developing.