What is your relationship to structure? Late last year I posted a piece about personal styles of organization, Chaos is a Style, but I’ve been thinking lately that we don’t go deep enough when we talk about organization. Organization is an overlay concept of structure; if you aren’t aware of the structure, how can you effectively organize?
Structure is first imposed upon all of us because we get a finite amount of time per day – nature is egalitarian in that we each get the same total minutes and hours. After that, the forms our personal structure might take are endless. So what do I mean by structure?
You move from waking through your ‘day’ (I put this in quotes because some people are awake during night hours, living opposite of most of the rest of us) until you decide to end your ‘day’ by going to sleep. Some people don’t bracket their day with sleep, for whatever reason so we are back to the imposed structure of a 24 hour period for a day, one bleeding into the next without the break of sleep.
Then we get to the myriad activities, thoughts, events, tasks that fill these waking hours and the method that we use to move from one to another. Some of these activities formulate patterns – the number of times that we eat in a given day, a work schedule, planned appointments – all of which start to fill in the details of our daily structure. Organization is the method, or methods, that we choose to use to manage the structure that our days take on.
Personally, I have this mix of the creative – which requires unplanned mental and physical space to fully evolve – and logic – which prefers discipline and detailed planning for greatest efficiency and comfort. Some days this is a tedious mix, but mostly I see this as a tremendous benefit since I can then relate to the style and structure of so many other people.
The structure of your day can be imposed externally by nature, by obligation (work, school, etc.), by your personality type. It is interesting to me, and perhaps one germinating factor in this post, that the word and concepts of fluidity have come up over and again in my various experiences in the last few days. Types of structure can go from fluid to rigid; again affected greatly by the broad points that I made in the start of this paragraph.
What you do with the structure of your days, your life, and about controlling the structure your life has taken on, to the extent that you can deeply affects your feelings of contentment, happiness. Your awareness level of the structure in your life; decisions that you make as to the effectiveness of your current structure, is where the title today comes in. If you don’t put some thought into the sort of structure that you operate best in, then you can build a life that feels all wrong.
Creativity and fluidity usually appear hand in hand. Water is the best representative of fluidity, but it still requires some external structure – pitch or grade to allow flow, gravity, varying solid surfaces – what would the Grand Canyon be without these additional factors, as one example we are all given for the amazing effects that water can impose.
On the opposite side is rigidity; complete inability to adapt, change, or even bend to conditions. All people have some need for structure, but rigid folks have such a strong desire for days upon days that follow a precise pattern ad nauseam.
Most people fall somewhere in between complete fluidity and complete rigidity; usually exhibiting a combination of these characteristics based on the activity. More detailed structure is welcome in one situation, but intrusive in another – limiting or freeing. Lack of clear structure can be frightening when in a crowd, but welcome on a Sunday afternoon.
Have you given any thought to how structure affects you? To the types of imposed structures that give you the best opportunity to shine?
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