Your Life Doesn’t Have to Be Chaotic

by Sandy L on December 29, 2010

I’ll admit it. I’m one of those nutty people who’s always over scheduled and tend to fill every waking moment with some activity or task. It seems like my MO is to teeter totter between being bored and being completely frazzled.  What I do is this.  I add things to my life one thing after another until I can’t keep up with everything anymore. I then start to feel overwhelmed. Then I say, “this is nuts” and I start  slashing the activities back out again until I feel like I’m back under control once more.  I’m sure it’ll go back and forth like this until I’m worm food.

To add to my happiness is independence post, I want to expand on one of the things that I find in unhappy people. This is the feeling life is not in their control to change.  Murphy is always lurking around the corner and everyone else is lucky as hell and they just can’t seem to have things go their way, ever.  Everything seems to go wrong all the time.

To me, there are two reasons for this:

Misery Seeking

I’m personally guilty of this. When I hit a rough patch I always tell myself bad things come in threes and I start looking out for that 3rd bad thing to happen to me.  It’s like when you get a new car and all of a sudden you start noticing it all over town. If you’ve convinced yourself that your life is full of bad events happening back to back, then you will be looking out for that next thing to justify your theory.  The reality is that things don’t always go as planned, but there are also wonderful things that happen too.  If you’re just looking for the bad stuff, that is all you will see.

Chaos Creation

There are a few types of chaos creation:

  1. Self Imposed - these are things that are not essential to running your life but you do them anyway because you believe that’s what a person in your position is supposed to do.  In this category is scratch cooking, 8 million kid’s sports, social commitments, volunteering, hobbies, family commitments, etc. Sometimes when there’s too much to do, you have to edit some of these out. It’s okay having these things in your life as long as you know that if poop hits the fan, you realize that it’s not something you HAVE to do but WANT to do. It’s okay to take a break for a while.
  2. Procrastination - this is when you put off something to the point where it becomes a  problem. You don’t pay your bills on time and your utilities get shut off, or your house is a mess and you can’t find things you need.  This is usually remedied by reassessing your priorities and/or creating a reasonable way  to organize your must do tasks.  If bills are a problem, put them on auto pay.  If money for the bills is a problem, then spending less or earning more has to go to the top of the priority list.
  3. Delusions – this is a self created expectation of what you think your standard of living should be. Living beyond your means often leads to chaos in terms of not being able to keep up with your bills, having too much stuff and feeling stressed about not being able to keep up with your perceived level of success in life.

So How Do You Get Back in Control?

First, try to re-adjust your senses to notice the good things that are going on around you instead of the bad.

Second, when the next bad thing happens, tell yourself that eventually things will get better again. It’s just not possible for things to go badly forever.

Third, analyze whether you could have prevented the bad thing from occurring. Is it your own fault and please be honest with yourself.  (Yes, I threw my back out yesterday, but I know it’s because I haven’t been doing my exercises. I can’t tell you how much I hate ab work, but hating doing plank doesn’t make me unlucky or Murphy’s latest victim. It’s my own fault for having my priorities out of whack.)

Fourth – figure out if minor changes will do the trick. If not, don’t rule out some major ones.  Quit your job, move to a smaller house, dump your loser significant other, go back to school, etc.  Anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself and take action.

As the new year approaches, what changes are you contemplating to make you life less chaotic? Or have you found that perfect balance already?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole December 29, 2010 at 8:44 AM

When something bad happens, I figure I’m building up karma points for something good. I’m not sure if I’ve paid off the graduate school experience yet or not. That was a doozy.

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MoneyCone December 29, 2010 at 11:05 AM

I do the reverse! When a good thing happens, I keep thinking all good things come in threes and keep expecting a couple more!

Great post Sandy!

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Money Reasons December 29, 2010 at 11:59 AM

I’ve been guilty of #1 and #2 in my past, but over the years, I’ve been able to change many of those ways.

I think this coming year, I’ve found a good balance that may be perfect. I’ll find out at the end of next year :)
Great write up!

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Aloysa December 29, 2010 at 5:28 PM

I self-impose stress on myself. I tend to worry about things that I have no control over. It definetely needs to be worked on. Great post!

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Len Penzo December 29, 2010 at 9:34 PM

Good post! I wonder of the three types of chaos you describe, which one is the most prevalent? If I had to guess I would suspect it’s split 25/50/25 self-imposed/procrastination/delusion.

All the best,

Len
Len Penzo dot Com

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Linda December 29, 2010 at 10:53 PM

I’m also guilty of over-committing myself a lot, and teetor-totter between extremes. I don’t really indulge in misery-seeking, but I certainly do a lot of chaos creation!

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Sandy L December 30, 2010 at 5:50 AM

Nicole – that’s funny. I actually think that way too sometimes..that I’m just putting in a downpayment for something awesome that’s about to happen.

Moneycone – You’re the ultimate glass half full type person.

Aloysa – Good Point. I totally forgot about obsessing about what you can not control. I’ve actually gotten way better at not doing that. I’ll instead take a potential outcome and figure out what I’d do if it happened.

Len – I agree. A lot of people who bitch about their screwed up lives do it to themselves. I think that’s a pretty big component but I also think people take on too much as well. Tough one.

Linda – I think if you’re generally a happy person, you’re not a misery seeker. Misery seekers are the ones that look around to justify why they are in a funk. I’m definitely a teeter totterer.

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Lindy Mint December 30, 2010 at 2:26 PM

One of my favorite things to do is figure out the fastest way to do a task, whether at work or at home. Like putting the cinnamon and the honey in the same place since I use them both in my breakfast, rather than tripping all over the kitchen trying to gather them up then put them back (anal example, but you get the point). Those small things really help in eliminating getting overwhelmed by the day-to-day activites. And your comment about procrastination and disorganization is spot on.

But it’s often the case that something major is sucking up my time and I don’t even realize it until an a-ha moment comes out of the sky.

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Everyday Tips December 31, 2010 at 10:06 AM

I am a bit of a nut because I actually get nervous when things have been going really well for a long time. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I will say that I have gotten better at not over-analyzing things as much this year. We will see how long it lasts.

This weekend, I am going to take a little time and really think about what I want/expect for 2011.

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Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer December 31, 2010 at 8:40 PM

Isn’t procrastination self-imposed? In general, my life is pretty calm; just once in a while I over-schedule myself or work gets crazy.

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Invest It Wisely January 3, 2011 at 11:26 PM

I sometimes hit these traps, so something I need to work on, but it also goes to show how so many things in life are mental; even if there are physical obstacles or roadblocks, we can choose how we approach them.

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