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A 1% improvement on living a non-micromanaged life

Hi everyone! I’m Cynthia, an environmental engineering intern. To avoid confusion with the other Cynthia, you can call me Cyn, Thia, or anything in between.

An extremely valuable life lesson this pandemic has taught me is to stop micromanaging my life. Back then, I had to have control over my life and would plan every hour of my day. All my 21 meals were planned every Sunday, my pantry refilled every Wednesday, and a visit to the mall every Saturday. Sometimes, I even plan my day by the minute—leave my dorm at 8:43 to arrive at my campus on 8:55, or eat at 12:35 so I’ll be done by 1:05 and can catch the 1:15 bus. A slight shift in my schedule would throw me off balance, upsetting me way more than it should have.

This all changed when the pandemic hit and things became unpredictable. I couldn’t micromanage my day as I relied on my parents, who were Without the comfort of my schedule, combined with a very stressful semester at university, my brain shut down and I was on survival mode. I almost missed several deadlines, and my meetings often overlap because the unpredictability demotivated me from keeping track of my schedules. I soon realised this was destructive. Thankfully, with the help of a professional and several supportive friends, I slowly learned how to embrace this chaos. I no longer needed a rigid weekly schedule, and was able to keep track of all important deadlines and meetings.

This new skill of mine was soon put to test on Friday, 27th August. Knowing that I’ll have a long day ahead, and would need my social energy recharged for a late night Instagram Live, I decided to take comfort in scheduling my day. However, just like the pandemic, I had no control of how the day will pan out. The schedule I had made soon became redundant. While fighting the battle between following or forgetting this schedule, I took a step back and asked myself, “what’s the worst that could happen if I don’t follow this schedule? I’ll probably be a bit more exhausted than I had expected, but in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?” So I let go of my worries and let the day unfold. By the end of the day, I have no regrets, and in fact, felt quite liberated that I was, to a certain degree, no longer chained to my daily schedules. I admit I still find comfort in micro-managing my day, but now I no longer cower at the thought of spontaneity. That night, I realised I have improved by 1%.

So, giftmakers, how have you improved by 1% today?

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