Being realistic when you are a planning over-achiever with big, sweet dreams


I love you Rosie

The planning

Here it is for the world to read. I will say it out loud as I type, to carry the point to my poor little psyche.

My name is Elaine Griffin and I am an organized disaster.

A hot mess in an old dress. Which is actually a nightgown I have had has since I was 12.

I am currently in the final throws of what has been a two-year get this shit organized so you can achieve the success of your dreams campaign. As I near my goal of being organized and ready to take on the world, I realize there is something amiss. I left myself behind somewhere in that organization and planning. I have left no time for life.

The truth is, like most women, I am too hard on myself. I have unrealistic short-term goals. I abuse my body, mind, and my nerves, which affects everyone around me, and makes me feel trapped and inadequate, and perpetuates a cycle of self-loathing followed by planning followed by…. It’s vicious.

All of this preparation is my sanity, in a way. So here I am, once again, and now I’m putting an end to the cycle with the realization that I’m great at identifying what I want and planning how to get it all. I make lists. I know what to do and how to do it.

But my execution sucks.

The over-achieving

I have identified the three main things I want from life. I’m pretty sure most women want these things too. I want to:

  1. be the best person I can be – to myself and my family
  2. have a successful career
  3. have a perfect body

I can totally plan how to do this. To be better. To be the best. But can I execute it without killing myself and everyone around me? Hell NO. So it’s not even worth discussing. Or thinking about. Or especially planning.

Thankfully I’m learning, with the help of my friends, how to be realistic. I have learned that I actually have and am these things. My husband loves me, my kids think I’m the best mother, in spite of my epic fails. And I work my ass off on my career. Success in all three arenas.

So here is what I have decided to do to make me feel better about me.

The new big, sweet dreams

The first thing I am going to do is give myself a little wiggle room during the day and spend more quality time with my kids. Which means not planning quite so much during the week, and I’m going to forgive myself if some things take longer or I decide to do something else, and the listed tasks don’t get done. I’m not going to sit and stare at my list and fret about it. Will I keep re-writing my lists? Oh hell yes. But I will use them as a gentle reminder about what I would like to accomplish, not what I HAVE to accomplish or I will simply cease surviving. I also am not working on the weekend anymore. It’s stressing me out. It’s stressing everyone out. And I need some time to do fun things I like, so I can be a happy girl, a happy wife, a happy mom, and a success in my job.

The second thing I am going to do is get dressed. I hope you just laughed right out loud and peed your pants because I know it sounds funny, but when you stay at home, not getting dressed is an easy trap to fall into. I have deduced that women who work from home and get up in the morning and do something with themselves are more successful than those who sit in their pajamas. I’m not talking get up and put on your best suit. But get up and get dressed. Wear something that is comfortable, but that you could wear to a casual office. Something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to present yourself in. This is hard for me because I keep buying a series of the same t-shirts from Old Navy, which I loved at first, but are no longer fashionable, and are making me feel pretty damn dumpy right about now. Work aside, if you are like me, you are balancing work and running errands like grocery shopping and transporting your kids around. There are opportunities everywhere, and you don’t want to miss them. One key to success is being prepared to talk about yourself and tell people what you do. I missed what could have been a valuable opportunity the other day because I wasn’t feeling like I looked up to par. So say it with me ladies, when it’s work time NO MORE SWEATPANTS! and I mean any kind of work or errand running – paid or unpaid.

The last thing I am going to do is focus less on beauty perfection. I’m focusing on health. Eating right, moving my body a few times a week and doing it with the intention of just feeling good. And I’m going to remember to take my multivitamin. That is what I can commit to now.

So there you have it. My plan to not plan to be an over-achieving organized disaster. To be realistic in life and in my endeavors. Have I given it too much thought? Perhaps. But I give it to you so maybe I can keep you from being an organized disaster yourself.

Do you have something you would like to contribute? I want to hear from you! Use the comment form or send me an email.

*This post was inspired by the writers and ladies who contribute at the Curvy Girl Guide, especially this post about creating a home office, which was one of the first I read.*

About Laine

Elaine GriffinElaine Griffin (a.k.a. Laine) is a freelance WordPress designer, content creator, and speaker. She brings her background as a sociologist, advocate, and educator, to her work and her writing, which has been featured on BlogHer and The SITS Girls. On The Laine List she spills her guts about life, motherhood, and balancing work and family. She also sprinkles in some fun recipe and cocktail posts. On Elaine Griffin Designs, she writes easy to follow tutorials about WordPress, social media, SEO, and blogging.
Working from her home office in Finger Lakes Region of NY, Elaine, a wine lover, also enjoys the beauty of living in wine country!

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  1. says

    Hey there, Laine! Boy, it just gets better and better. What a powerhouse you are. With the kids and all of your business options, I really TRULY, don’t know how you do it all and keep the level of your writing at such a fevered, high quality pitch. Good going. You have my vote! Fondly, Robin


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