Structure and No Leniency

The thing about being a submissive is that your needs tend to be fluid. Your Dominant has to be able to follow the changes with you. Rules, if you have them, need to grow with your needs. Sometimes one becomes superfluous, maybe you’ve outgrown the need for it; other times it becomes clear that there is a lack that needs to be corrected. People change constantly so it’s really important that the people involved in the relationship occasionally discuss and consider these rules to make sure that they still fit the person you are now.

In November G decided we were going to do something different. It was a punishment, but I think he also wanted to see if it would help me be a little more organized. The new plan involved a daily to-do list, and no leniency on failing to get those things done. It was supposed to last a week.

Every day I was to write out a to-do list based on the things I needed to accomplish. Some things were mandatory since I’m supposed to do them daily anyway (exercise, writing), other things just show up as needed (bills, making appointments, shopping). There was no required number of items, but in general anything less than five items on the list got me a skeptical look and a suggestion that he would add his own items if I couldn’t think of something else.

It’s never a good idea for your Doms to find work for you to do, so I would quickly add things—it’s not like I don’t have a ton of stuff to do anyway since I’m a terrible procrastinator.

These items, along with my daily rules, had to be completed. Every item that I missed would be a strike against me and would affect our monthly ‘discussion’. Specifically, it would affect how long and hard it was. There would be no excuses for missing things, especially since I was setting the list myself, and most of it was fairly important stuff that had to be done anyway: housework, writing, editing, bills—you know, those things we like to call adulting.

I did really well over the week. I think I only missed a couple of things, and I was feeling very accomplished and productive, so he asked if I’d like to continue through the end of the month. I didn’t even have to think about it and said yes immediately. November starts my busy season and because I put so much work on myself for the holidays, I usually end up very stressed, feeling overwhelmed, and upset constantly at the end of the year so I was hoping this would help me stay organized, and it did.

Going into December we renewed the deal again and the whole month ended up with a really different tone. I was much more relaxed. Things got done at a steady pace instead of a weird rotation of nothing, panic work, nothing, panic work. I found that the overwhelming avalanche of stress never happened for the first time in years.

Let me just pause here to explain a bit. In addition to the daily writing, editing, blogging, social media stuff which I consider my job, and the normal adult stuff of managing a household, there was also the holiday stuff of course. Most people have a lot of extra work to be done in December so that’s not unusual, but I tend to do an extreme version of the holidays and it’s not just a matter of shopping, wrapping, and decorating for me.

During December I bake. I mean I bake a lot! I typically make 500-600 cookies, candies, etc. This breaks down into usually five or six different recipes minimum and that’s not counting slight variations like adding nuts to a recipe I already did without them.

Then there are the cards… I know most people don’t do holiday cards anymore. I do. I started a tradition when I was a teenager of drawing a little doodle inside each card I sent out. Mostly this was because I was broke, the cards were crappy cheap things, and no one was getting any gifts from me. Later when I learned about 50% off after-Christmas sales, I tried dropping the doodle and just sending nicer cards. This didn’t go over well. Everyone called to complain and ask where their picture was.

My artwork has gotten much better over the years, even to the point where I used to do quite well professionally, but believe me, back then they were horrible—but people still loved them. I think it was knowing the time I put into doing them and the fact that they were different every year. So, I kept it up and have done them every year since.

Unfortunately, my list of loved ones has grown longer as time has gone on. Now instead of ten cards to do I have over sixty. Each one takes about an hour minimum, and that’s not counting addressing and getting them mailed. Oh, and then of course I also do an online card for people here and that can be pretty time consuming too.

On top of that I was finishing up a book and trying to write a short holiday story for the blog, so as you can see December was a bit busy for me. Certain things have helped to keep my stress from going higher, like being ordered to cap my list a few years ago. Now I can’t add anyone to the card list unless I take someone off. This makes me kind of sad because I meet new people each year that I’d love to add, but I also am well aware that I’m at my limit now (maybe even past If I’m honest) so I really can’t argue the rule and the online card helps me feel a little less guilty about that.

Sure, I could probably make my life easier by cutting back. People have suggested I just do one card design, have it printed, and mail that to everyone. I don’t think it would be as meaningful to the people who receive them though. And people have suggested I could just bake a couple kinds of cookies (but none of them can decide which those should be, since everyone who gets them has a different favorite.) But underneath all of the hard work I really love to do these things. They make me happy—it’s the stress and deadlines that cause the problem. I am someone who needs structure, but large deadlines cause panic and I am easily overwhelmed.

This time the daily lists and the no-leniency on missing things got me through the month with everything done smoothly and on time. I actually had Christmas eve to have fun instead of stress over last minute things and I was really happy. As January rolled around it had become obvious that this kind of structure was working well for me, so we extended it again. I think it may end up being a semi-permanent fixture at this point. I’m not sure, but I don’t think I mind.

I envy people who can work at home, without a supervisor, and get everything done. I’m not one of them. Without a Dom my style tends to involve a manic rush of energy that has me flying around doing five million things and by the end of the day, I’ve accomplished a lot, but I’m completely destroyed. Then I spend a few days blowing everything off while I recover and the cycle repeats…forever.

I don’t need or want to be micro-managed on every task throughout the day, and as a creative person I need some flexibility to choose where my muse is, but if left to my own devices either everything gets done, or nothing does. I’m finding the lists are a nice way to plan my schedule with G and L keeping an eye on things to make sure I follow through. It’s a good balance I think, and the productivity on those things has spilled over so I’m getting used to switching off a task to work on another one which is healthier than focusing on just one thing to the exclusion of everything else—another issue I have.

Feeling productive is a good way to go into the new year. By the way, in case you’re wondering, the tally for missed things in December was about fifteen. Which if you consider every list had 5-6 items on it, is really not bad for a whole month. G and L assure me I’ve been a good girl and that’s the most important thing to me anyway.

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