Tight Schedule

I am starting to notice that I have some rigid tendencies. (Somewhere, Dan is rolling his eyes thinking, “Really? You JUST noticed?”)

Shut up, Dan.

Anyhoo: I like to do things in a certain way or in a certain order. If you’d have asked me if I minded change, I would say to you, “No, I don’t mind change.”

I may be lying. I don’t mean to lie. I would like to be a person who is flexible and can roll with the punches — as long as they aren’t actual punches.

For example: I drink two cups of coffee at work, one that I bring with me from home, and one that I make from Starbucks VIA instant coffee at 10 a.m.

And I mean, precisely at 10 a.m. Sometimes 10:02, but seldom later than 10:15. Maybe 9:58 if I have a 10 a.m. meeting.

I usually have a handful of trail mix with that cup of coffee. Every so often I will have granola bar or doughnut or cookie with that cup of coffee. But point is, my morning looks like this:

8 a.m.: Coffee and Belvita (2) at my desk
Work, work, work, surf a little bit of internet
10 a.m.: Coffee and handful of trail mix

To that effect, when my co-workers do a breakfast run (or bring in cupcakes) I tend not to participate. Not because I don’t like fast food breakfasts or cupcakes — but because it’ll throw off my schedule. And that makes me anxious.

++

When Flora was born, I was a schedule Nazi. Especially when it came to naps: we had to be home for naps. HAD TO BE. Naps and bedtime.

I told myself at the time that I wanted Flora to have a routine, that we would both benefit. But when I turned into an anxious mess if we weren’t home for that nap, so help me God, I probably wasn’t doing anyone any favors.

I was more laid back with Kate. Although I still tried to instill a routine, I don’t think I was as rigid about it.

And when it came to M, that little dude got dragged around everywhere with us. Thanks be to the heavens he was easy going.

Even now, though, when I have a plan, even if it’s just one in my head, if you interfere with it, so help you God. (Dan can attest.) If I have in my head that we are going to start driving Friday at 6 p.m., but we are not ready at 6 p.m., the anxiety starts.

It’s not pretty. I should probably work on it.

++

I deal with it in a couple of ways: lots of prep — lists, packing, lists, shopping, cleaning, lists, drinking (when appropriate). I communicate to my husband and children my wishes — i.e., I would like to leave by 10 a.m. — and realize it will probably be closer to 11:30 when we do actually leave. Because vacation preparation goes a little bit like this in my house (h/t When Crazy Meets Exhaustion).

I try to stay flexible in my day-to-day. Mileage varies. I did eat a strawberry cupcake that my newest coworker brought in recently, and got something ordered from a fast food place another day. I can do this stuff, I can (especially if I’m starving).

But, too, I also like to have plans and routines. It’s soothing to me. I put my workouts on my calendar; I try to lay out clothes for myself the night before. I like having habits that I don’t have to think about too hard. And it wasn’t marriage and children that did this to me — I have always liked to have my ducks in a row, even if they were short-term ducks (today, this week, this month) rather than long-term ducks. (I still don’t have a 5-year plan, never have.)

And it’s okay. Sometimes my anxiety bubbles over and gets everywhere; sometimes it makes my husband short-tempered. But we work through, we get by.

And maybe my children will learn to roll with the punches a wee bit better if they see me doing it. That would be nice. For everyone.

How do you do routine? Printed itinerary or go with the flow?

Copyright on clock image: luchschen / 123RF Stock Photo

4 thoughts on “Tight Schedule

  1. Like you, I am a creature of routine, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I consider it a system… one I’ve honed over the years into the most efficient way of doing things. I just slide into the system and all the decisions have already been made. (Like: when to leave for work, when I go to get my water and have a breakfast bar, when to refill and hit the potty, when to go to lunch, etc.) If I know ahead of time that someone is bringing in muffins, I’ll omit my breakfast bar.

    Otherwise, I get very cranky when I have to break my routine. Granted, that’s rare, because unlike you, I don’t have 3 little variables to contend with. =o)

    I think systems help people cope when there are so many things to worry about. It removes the decision-making process from daily activities, thus giving your brain more room to address the ad hoc crises in your life.

    1. Actually, that’s a good point, that having a routine eliminates some decisions. I can always use fewer of those!

  2. I, too, am a schedule freak. Sometimes I don’t communicate my intentions and get angry that my husband hasn’t read my mind. I’m a peach.

    (Thanks for the shout out!)

    1. I just… I just want things to happen the way I decided they should happen. Is that so difficult? đŸ˜‰

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