Thinking “Inside a Box”

cell-1496385_1920Gas molecules will fly all over the place unless held in a container.  That’s what I’m like .  Unless I am contained in a structure, I am all over the map.  As a result, I can feel inefficient and anxious. Ironically it appears that in order for me to “think outside the box”, I need to be in one

For most, they have a structure imposed by a job, school, and/or family responsibilities.  That used to be me but 2 years ago I retired from teaching and now it’s up to me to create my own structure.  In other words, I get to be my own parent.  Scary.chest-2648225_1920

I make several kinds of visual art, play music, sing in a choir, and write, plus take care of an aging farmhouse on rural property.  I’m doing a little of this and a little of that.  As a result, my work is all over the place with no real sense of focus & accomplishment. I am “showing up” but irregularly without a clear set of goals. So after bumbling around for a while in this new found frontier of freedom, I realize that in order to function effectively I need to create my own “box” for myself to save me from chaos.

IMG_1647Recently I sent for books on the subject. Currently, I am reading ,  Goal Setting for People Who Hate to Set  Goals.”   This small book by Keith Ellis is helping me prioritize & set measurable goals step by step.  Today I am going to sit down, write out my goals and create a visual flowchart to follow.  For me, unless I write things down and have a visual posted in a place where I see it consistently, all will be a wash.

Some successes thus far: I have started to get up an hour earlier.  That helps a lot.   I also for some months now have been following a modified version of the house cleaning and organization system on  My house is way more in order and clean than ever before by just following her simple systematic approach.   I function much better in a clean, orderly environment.

If you have any tricks to stay focused and organized, I would love to know!


3 thoughts on “Thinking “Inside a Box”

  1. This line “in order for me to ‘think outside the box’, I need to be in one” made me laugh. I checked out and it does seem like a good way to get organized. I do not have any tips to share as I tend to just flow with the day. I do have a morning practice though of exercise, reading something spiritual, meditating and journaling. If I do these things in the morning my day seems to go so much better.

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    1. I too start my morning as you. In fact, if I don’t, I don’t feel whole. Your post today really gave me pause and a bit of envy because you really seem to flow! But then I have this ADD quality where I get so distracted by all my choices I wind up making myself crazy or not doing anything at all. Two years post retirement I’m like that caged bird with the door finally open and then not flying out because so much freedom almost seems like a cage. Hence I’ve come to realize creating a structure for myself (AKA my “box”) makes me feel more grounded. Let me say though, it’s a very soft box, suited for a high degree of spontaneity!

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      1. Retirement does have its challenges. I eased into it doing contract work for a couple of years, but I have committed to retirement only since March. I do have some structure. I do volunteer work at a homeless shelter once a week, I take an art class (my first ever!) once a week, and I participate in a writers group once a week. The rest of the time though, I am being my own parent as you said. 🙂 Enjoy your retirement. It’s funny that we both wrote about this at about the same time.

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