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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    Default How do you get structure in your life?

    ...and keep it from falling apart?

    My life is seriously lacking in structure. I'm pretty talented at a whole bunch of things and I think I have a fair amount of potential. But I can't direct my motivation to do anything in any sort of consistent way. I feel like if I don't learn and practice building some structure into my life I'm going to get lost in a chasm of hedonistic bullshittery. Which is a lot of fun, sure, but even my hedonism would benefit from some structure.

    I'm a hard worker when I'm in "work mode." Around Christmas I went back up to the DC area where I have a lot of work. I planned to stay for maybe 2 weeks. I ended up staying for 6 months. I didn't go out or do anything but work and stay home more than a handful of times. But I wouldn't describe that as 'structure' at all. I was just flooded with work to do and scooped up what I could in a haphazard fashion.

    Now I'm in another state (I suppose both a different state in the country and mental state), and I have some work, but very little, and it's not focused, it's not planned, it's not directed. I have a lot of my own projects to finish as well.

    I'm starting to think that this is seriously hampering my progress in basically everything, work, hobbies, social life, living arrangements, the whole deal.

    Sometimes I make good choices and start something long term but then I forget it at some point and by the time I remember it again it's long dead.

    How do I fix this? Whatever I'm doing is rubbish because it's not working.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    Possible psychological barriers:

    - grew up in environment where planning was (for real or perceived reasons) useless. Energy that was used planning was a waste - no plan could really exist anyway. Additionally, the opportunity cost of planning was having the present moment blow up in your face and not having the energy to deal with that, which is the psychological equivalent of getting the shit kicked out of you because you didn't have to energy to not have that happen.

    Long term planning makes me fairly uncomfortable.

    Possibly because of the above, but also due to lack of competency.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  3. #3
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Hm. I was thinking a bit more about what I posted in your blog. I think a part of it (for me at least) is accountability. I don't like letting people down. So at least part of it is that if I know somebody else is expecting me to be somewhere at a certain time I am more likely to follow through if I'm in a sort of meh mood. I can plan on doing X at Y time, but, as that time approaches, if I'm not so much in the mood, and only feeling accountable to myself, then I'm less likely to follow through, even if X really is what I want to cultivate in my life in terms of a bigger picture.

    But then again, too much accountability is kind of restrictive too. So I don't know.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

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    The other thing I was thinking of is efficient routines for the things you really value deep down. Like, a lot of routines I observe just seem to be because they are comfortable, or maybe some people even just like having routines for the sake of having a routine.

    But a good routine, you have proven its efficiency. You have tweaked it to fit your own style of doing. You are aware of the variations based on different factors. You know this is the way that works, and there is almost a pleasure in executing something so well like that. I think that is maybe what to aim for in terms of internally-driven structure.

    But I think this is the problem of Ps. The life-long challenge we face.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  5. #5
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    Ok. Last post.

    I think the P approach is to work really hard when you are in the mood, and to resist doing things in the moment when you aren't feeling up to it. Lots of times that is totally fine and it's no big deal. But sometimes it can totally backfire.

    At the heart of it, it is really about a larger goal vs short-term feelings or mood, sort of pacing yourself, a knowledge of when you can go easy on yourself or give in to that sort of manic energy versus when you need to kick yourself in the pants/rein yourself in.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  6. #6
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    There are plenty of self-help books on the subject. You just have to have the patience to wade through them and implement some of the principles in your own life. Examples of some of the better ones:

    http://www.amazon.com/Organizing-Ins...ie+morgenstern

    http://www.amazon.com/Time-Managemen...ie+morgenstern

    http://www.amazon.com/Habits-Highly-...fective+people

  7. #7
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    all structure that i would want is when i wake up, i would be to sit down on computer, drink few cups of tea and not hurry with that before i do anything else.
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
    — C.G. Jung

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    Hm. I was thinking a bit more about what I posted in your blog. I think a part of it (for me at least) is accountability. I don't like letting people down. So at least part of it is that if I know somebody else is expecting me to be somewhere at a certain time I am more likely to follow through if I'm in a sort of meh mood. I can plan on doing X at Y time, but, as that time approaches, if I'm not so much in the mood, and only feeling accountable to myself, then I'm less likely to follow through, even if X really is what I want to cultivate in my life in terms of a bigger picture.

    But then again, too much accountability is kind of restrictive too. So I don't know.
    Yeah, I'm much more likely to plan things for other people than myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    The other thing I was thinking of is efficient routines for the things you really value deep down. Like, a lot of routines I observe just seem to be because they are comfortable, or maybe some people even just like having routines for the sake of having a routine.

    But a good routine, you have proven its efficiency. You have tweaked it to fit your own style of doing. You are aware of the variations based on different factors. You know this is the way that works, and there is almost a pleasure in executing something so well like that. I think that is maybe what to aim for in terms of internally-driven structure.

    But I think this is the problem of Ps. The life-long challenge we face.
    I can relate to enjoying a well executed plan in terms of being prepared for an event. I like thinking things through so I have the right tools for the job, and I like having my tools organized so I know where everything is. That way I don't have to bring my mind off of work to search for that non-marring stainless steel nail puller - it's in the front pocket of the big red bag and I can stay focused.

    I'm also fairly good at programming subroutines, like I used to be someone who never, ever used the horn in my car. In a lot of ways I still prefer to just avoid the situation on my own without relying on other people, but it's valuable to signal other people sometimes. It took a while but I became adept at forcing myself to identify situations where it would be useful and now my hand automatically drops into the signal position if there is a potential problem.

    I'm not sure if that's the same as planning, kinda. Just a larger scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    Ok. Last post.

    I think the P approach is to work really hard when you are in the mood, and to resist doing things in the moment when you aren't feeling up to it. Lots of times that is totally fine and it's no big deal. But sometimes it can totally backfire.

    At the heart of it, it is really about a larger goal vs short-term feelings or mood, sort of pacing yourself, a knowledge of when you can go easy on yourself or give in to that sort of manic energy versus when you need to kick yourself in the pants/rein yourself in.
    This sounds right, though I suppose I don't have especially clear and/or existent long term goals. Maybe that's the first step.




    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    There are plenty of self-help books on the subject. You just have to have the patience to wade through them and implement some of the principles in your own life. Examples of some of the better ones:

    http://www.amazon.com/Organizing-Ins...ie+morgenstern

    http://www.amazon.com/Time-Managemen...ie+morgenstern

    http://www.amazon.com/Habits-Highly-...fective+people
    Yeah, I try self help books but I tend to read half of them and then forget they exist.

    But I've accomplished some stuff. I read Getting Things Done and got a file box system out of the deal which has been useful.

    7 Habits I should probably read just for the sake of reading it. Those look alright. I'll see what's at the library.



    Quote Originally Posted by INTP View Post
    all structure that i would want is when i wake up, i would be to sit down on computer, drink few cups of tea and not hurry with that before i do anything else.
    So...would you actually end up accomplishing anything else or...?

    OK, I'm not that bad, I should give myself credit, I get a pretty large amount of stuff done, am (variably) self-employed, live within my means, and I'm not a slob. But I feel like I'm not nearly as effective as I could be, and it's limiting everything.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  9. #9
    Unapologetic being Evolving Transparency's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboo View Post
    ...and keep it from falling apart?

    My life is seriously lacking in structure. I'm pretty talented at a whole bunch of things and I think I have a fair amount of potential. But I can't direct my motivation to do anything in any sort of consistent way. I feel like if I don't learn and practice building some structure into my life I'm going to get lost in a chasm of hedonistic bullshittery. Which is a lot of fun, sure, but even my hedonism would benefit from some structure.

    I'm a hard worker when I'm in "work mode." Around Christmas I went back up to the DC area where I have a lot of work. I planned to stay for maybe 2 weeks. I ended up staying for 6 months. I didn't go out or do anything but work and stay home more than a handful of times. But I wouldn't describe that as 'structure' at all. I was just flooded with work to do and scooped up what I could in a haphazard fashion.

    Now I'm in another state (I suppose both a different state in the country and mental state), and I have some work, but very little, and it's not focused, it's not planned, it's not directed. I have a lot of my own projects to finish as well.

    I'm starting to think that this is seriously hampering my progress in basically everything, work, hobbies, social life, living arrangements, the whole deal.

    Sometimes I make good choices and start something long term but then I forget it at some point and by the time I remember it again it's long dead.

    How do I fix this? Whatever I'm doing is rubbish because it's not working.
    Are you looking to improve your long term planning, or short term planning? Or both?
    "Once the game is over, the Pawn and the King go back into the same box"

    Freedom isn't free.
    "Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." ~ Orwell
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  10. #10
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    Right now I structure my life myself. I need very little structure. When something needs to get done, I develop a system for it, find a way to have someone else do it, or wallow in my impending failure because I can't get going. Though I struggle with procrastination and sometimes laziness (more in the past than now), I would rather fail and be miserable than have to deal with someone else imposing their stuff onto me. And that's the downside of getting help from a J. They regiment my life to a screeching and boring halt, get in the way, bother me with things I don't care about, and ruin any chance I have of succeeding in the way I'd like to. Not worth it for me.

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