Flexibility is a wonderful thing. If your personality lends itself toward flexibility in planning, you are probably one of those people who others can count on to help when an unexpected need arises or join in on a spontaneous play date.
The problem arises when you are confronted with all of the things that haven’t gotten done or when you realize that you’ve dropped a ball that someone else was counting on you to hold.
Maximize Productivity While Staying Flexible
Just as there’s nothing wrong with being a scheduled person, there’s also nothing wrong with being someone who prefers to not schedule out every hour of the day. But, the challenge comes when that lovely flexibility gets in the way of actually getting things accomplished, whether it’s successfully working through a homeschool year or making a work deadline.
We often think we can only have one or the other, flexibility or structure. Because of this, the flexibility lovers among us tend to balk when discussion arise about structure and planning. But I have a little secret for you: flexibility and productivity can go hand in hand. In fact, with just a little bit of effort put into developing the right kind of habits, they can actually be quite beautiful partners.
Are you ready to find out more? Here are a few tips to help you maximize productivity without compromising your love for flexibility.
Schedule in Large Blocks
If your personality lends itself toward flexibility in planning, you’ll want to avoid setting specific time frames to tasks. Even so, in order to maximize productivity, your tasks need some sort of boundary to make sure they get done. So, schedule in large blocks.
Set aside a block of time, for example, for morning school. Inside the block, list the subjects that need to be completed in that block of time. Move fluidly from one to the next, just keeping an eye on your overall time so you know where you stand.
Don’t Get Too Detailed
As a flexible person, you may tend to get frustrated when you feel your time is being dictated, even if the dictator is the schedule you created! So, stay general.
For instance, instead of putting “clean bathroom” on the schedule, put “spend 15 minutes cleaning something.” This makes sure that house cleaning gets done but doesn’t make you feel locked into cleaning the bathroom at that moment, thus making you want to avoid cleaning the bathroom at all! Ever!
Learn a Rhythm
As you get a general idea of how each day should flow, you can often reach a point where you don’t have to look at the clock at all—at least on the days when you don’t have outside commitments. You can flow through a rhythm, progressing naturally from one part of your day to the next.
This takes practice and consistency, which can be challenging at first for a flexible planner. But, if you stick with it, you’ll discover not only that you’re learning to maximize productivity but also that this approach allows great freedom to be flexible with your day.
Check in Often
In her book The Third Option, entrepreneur and flexibility-loving Shannon Miles says, “Flexibility only happens with intentionality.”¹ Without intentionality, a flexible personality will end up floundering and causing stress to themselves and all around them.
Even if you’ve developed a rhythm that helps you maximize productivity and maintain flexibility, it’s important to check back regularly and make sure your rhythm still fits the large-block plan so nothing falls through the cracks. Instead of being ruled by the schedule, let the schedule serve as a reminder that keeps you on track.
Have you stuck to your rhythm and routine? Great! Now give yourself some time to be spontaneous and flexible to your heart’s content! When you choose to intentionally maximize productivity throughout your week, you’ll find that you actually have more freedom to enjoy the flexibility that you love so much. So, definitely do enjoy it!
Not sure what kind of planner you are? Take our Planner Personality Quiz to find out!
1. Miles, Shannon, The Third Option: Why a Woman Doesn’t Have to Choose between a Career and Family, but Can Actually Have Both and Succeed (Lioncrest Publishing, 2018), 162