On A Playful Day‘s instagram the other week, she had a discussion about structured play and how some kids (and adults!) do better with a little structure. It was such a lovely conversation and it got me thinking about my own relationship to structure and how I still struggle with it. I was well into adulthood before I realized that I thrived with structure and that I floundered in less structured environments. This isn’t to say that I can’t deal with unstructured time or work environments, but it is to say that I need to bring my own structure to situations and better manage myself so that I don’t let situations overwhelm me or feed my anxiety or tear at my self-esteem. I’ve spent a lot of time, especially in the last few years, building structure that I can work within. So, this insta-stories conversation really resonated with me. I’ve talked about the various productivity apps and programs that I use, but I don’t really use them to be productive, I really use them to build scaffolding in my life so that I can get things done.
Sometimes, it seems like the older I get the more my life is like being in a kindergarten classroom. I work a lot from home, and the areas at home where are work are different than the areas where I recreate, and I work on different kinds of work in different spaces (like having stations!). I build in rest times, using the forest app and the pomodoro technique (I also like to read and knit or spin after lunch for a bit if I can). I have snack time. Sometimes it amazes me that I ever devalued or avoided doing these simple things that take care of me. How did I ever get the idea that these things weren’t useful or valuable?
So, when I’m being “productive” and using the forest app, its not just keeping my off my phone but its helping me to work and to relax. (It also helps me track my work time, although, there are other ways I do that.) I use asana to keep an eye on the things I need to accomplish in a given time period. Sometimes, you don’t know what to do next and having a list already made saves me the time (and the frustration) of having to look. I am proud of myself for building this structure in my life, even if I’m both a little annoyed that I have to and a little annoyed that it took me so long to realize that I needed it.by