One of the biggest ‘issues’ in our marriage is the clash of our organization and planning styles. My style is excessive, to the minute planning and be very organized, almost on the verge of anal retentive. Where as his style is virtually non existent. He does not plan. He is loosely organized. He knows where is stuff is (most days) but no one else has any idea how to decipher his organizational code.
I seem to always be asking him,
“What is your plan today?”
“What are we doing?”
“Where are you going?”
It is very frustrating, for both of us. The more I nag at him to tell me his plans, the more frustrated he becomes.The more frustrated he becomes the more he snaps at me. The more he snaps with me, the angrier I get at him. It really is a vicious cycle.
This dynamics between us drives me nuts! It is the bain of my organizational existence. I could easily just say,
“Court is going to have to change and become more like me. My way is better and being organized is awesome!”
I could try and change him and believe that it will work, but it would only lead to even more frustration when it fails miserably. But that is not what I am going to do. I am going to treat this as a part of my happiness project. I am going to change me.
I married a man who is not very organized. He is spontaneous and lives for each day with out much though into the future. This may mean that on some days we miss opportunities to do things because we didn’t plan it out, or we can’t be a reliable (being late, bailing on plans etc) as I would like us to be as a family. Court is who he is, I am not changing him. And the more I think about it, the more I love this quality in him. It makes him who he is. And there is no one else in the world like Court.
He is okay with his disorganization. Why does it have to bother me so much?
It definitely has to do with my over planning obsession.
Over planning is one of those odd things that you believe is making you life easier but ends up making it more difficult. Stress tends to go hand and hand with over planning. You end up making alot of ‘to do’ list and attaching your happiness to them. You feel very happy when you can cross a bunch of thing of the list and you feel very upset and stressed when your list is not getting any smaller. It is kind of addiction. You get your high from crossing a line through a task or chore to indicate that it is complete. It is like any drug, It makes you feel awesome for a few minutes then you are back to feeling stressed again. In my experience, when you plan to far in advanced, you tend to feel overwhelmed.
I’ll give you an example.
Most weeks, on Sundays, I meal plan and make a chores list for our week. I write down everything that we need to do this week for chores and write down all the dinners we are going to eat and prepare. Sounds like a great idea eh?
What I find ends up happening is that I feel very pleased with my self and very organized for like 5 minutes. I am feeling great for being so organizationally savvy.
“Look at me, I am organized and have my life in control. I am not a screw up!”
Then the anxiety starts. All the chores I need to do, food to prepare and just basic stuff I need to get done for the week is running through my head and instantly I start to feel overwhelmed. I want to start crossing stuff of my list. Once I have finished my list, I want more. Because the feeling of accomplishment is awesome, I start putting more stuff on my to do lists and then again feel overwhelmed. It is a terrible cycle.
I end up spending to much time, mental energy and focus on silly lists.
I am wasting my precious time and life on my to do lists.
This week I am taking a lesson from my chill and relaxed husband (he always seem to be having more fun then me, so he is obviously doing something right.)
I am not going to over plan. I am going to attempt to be more relaxed and spontaneous, just like the man I love.
I am still going to be true to my inner being. I am a natural planner. I still need to have some control, but I need to find a way to allow it to be less detrimental to my happiness. I need to harbour my planning and organizational skills in a positive way.
This is what I have come up with:
- I am going to keep my meal plan for our family like before. It is a little less specific but we need a guideline or Court and I tend to eat out to much.
- Each morning I will spend 5 minutes just writing down what couple things I want to get done for that day. (today list is: pick up quilt stuff from grandma and plan yoga class) I am hoping this will take the anxiety off of looking to far into the future and getting overwhelmed.
- No more scary chore list. I given myself 2 hours during the week (one of the girls afternoon naps) to clean my house. So instead of thinking about all of my to do’s all week and wasting my precious time with Court and and my girls by running around the house cleaning, I’ll do it all one day.
Last months resolutions was to figure out what I enjoyed doing, what was fun for me and what made me happy. My newest resolution is to be true to myself. I am focused on honoring who I am, what I want and where I want to be. I do not want to become a new person. I am not trying to run away from the person or life I have created. I love the person I am and I love the life I live, I just want to find ways to improve my attitudes and behaviours. I am focused on being the happiest version of myself.
Dealing with my obsessive organization is a great first step to achieve this resolution.