Why Structure is Good for Me By Chip Dizard

Photo: Chip Dizard
I've never had a job that had much structure. I've worked at jobs that had me show up by 9-ish and then leave at 5 and get certain tasks completed. I've had to create the structure myself. And like most creative people, I did just enough to get tasks done, but the structure was lacking in my life. This year as a first-year teacher, structure was introduced and I thrived. Here are three reasons why:
  • It allows me to focus. I have a finite amount of time in my classroom for each period, breaks and many of my daily activities. Knowing this helps me get the most amount of work done in the least amount of time. I also can’t take cell phone calls throughout the day so I have to schedule them at certain times. Prior to teaching I would check my phone and email throughout the day.
  • It allows me to work at my peak. I do my best work and most of my creative work early in the morning. Most days I am up early creating, writing or planning before 5:30 a.m. Since I have to report to work by 7:30 a.m. this gives me an hour to complete some key tasks before I start my day. As a creative professional the times for self-reflection and quiet are critical.
  • It allows me to set boundaries and choose wisely. I can easily have a meeting every day after 3 p.m. if I allow it, but I choose to balance that with my family commitments and social commitments. Having a finite amount of time to work with helps me to choose the correct meeting to attend, or how I can best use my time.
I realize I won’t retire as a teacher, but these three things have done more for me this school year than in years past. I am currently reading an excellent book titled, The Accidental Creative: How to be brilliant at a moment’s notice, by Todd Henry. He gives sound advice to creative professionals (like me) who create for a living.

"The reality is that we {creatives} are not capable of operating without boundaries. We need them in order to focus our creative energy into the right channels. Total freedom is false freedom. True freedom has healthy boundaries." (Excerpt from book)

How does structure help you? Or do you need to introduce more structure into your work and life?

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Chip Dizard writes from Baltimore, MD. All rights reserved © 2012 VisitInSpire.org. Click here for content usage information.