For at least 13 years of our lives, our worlds are completely structured. For grades K-12, we know what our bedtimes are, what time we need to get up, what the order of tasks are in school (and after school activities), and exactly what is expected of us.
College often trips us up a bit because of the changes in structure, but it’s back to normal once we get full-time employment. Get up, work, errands, bed, repeat. It feels like a rat-race at times, but as humans, we crave structure like this and thrive off of it.
All this is great until life changes. Having kids, becoming an entrepreneur, working from home, retirement… any of these major lifestyle changes are wonderful, but throw structure for a loop. So here comes the Jenga analogy. When you play the game, you carefully select which blocks to remove. The first few come out easily (I liken this to the first few tasks you need to do- meetings, feed the family, prepare a presentation, laundry, etc.). As you build your stack higher and higher (more tasks), you begin to become selective about what blocks you’re choosing to avoid toppling over. You know what toppling over looks like in real life, right? Losing your sh** on your kids, crying fit, yelling at your spouse. We’ve all toppled over, right?
So the goal is to lessen the likelihood of a topple by being strategic about how you build your tower. Use a planner or a list to schedule your day out ahead of time, being careful not to set unrealistic expectations. Schedule in some “me” time. Create routines. Sleep, wake, and eat at the same time (as best you can). You may resist it at first (Let me live, Cait!), but I assure you, as a human being, you will respond better to a routine! It build’s a more secure tower and ultimately, a more secure, calm, and patient YOU.