How Type A People Can Have a Plan, But Not Be So Rigid

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In the last few months I’ve gone through a lot of periods of change and self-growth and acceptance. Like this article says, I truly think that becoming a full-time freelancer has made me into a better, and happier, person.

I’m definitely still a Type A (100%) and I don’t think that will ever change, but what has changed is my ability to recognize my stress level and how it affects the way I treat people and situations that annoy me.

Before I quit my full-time job I was stressed to the max. I was working 40 hours/week at my job plus putting in 40-ish hours/week on my business. I wasn’t sleeping much, I wasn’t exercising, and I wasn’t eating right. The tiniest delay or change to my extremely scheduled life put me over the edge. I would react to it with irritation, annoyance, and there were times I was downright rude no matter if it was someone’s fault or not.

For all you other Type A people out there, here are some things I’ve done to have a plan but not be so rigid.

Slow Down and Smell the Roses

After quitting my job at the end of July, I spent the first few weeks catching up on life. I went to be earlier, slept later, and (gasp!) I spent a little time “relaxing”. The reason I say “relaxing” is because even though I tried my very hardest to put my to-do list and business out of my mind when I’d finish working for the day it would still be there at the back of my mind. To this day, it’s still there everyday no matter how hard I try to relax.

I always say I’m not good at relaxing or slowing down, but I did my best to do so when I first quit my job. Going from working 80+ hours/week to working only 40 hours/week on my business was amazing!


You knew this one would be on the list, right? I still have a plan for each day. I have deadlines and tasks on my to-do list but I try my best not to fret if things don’t go exactly as planned. They rarely do in life anyway.

When I start to feel stressed out or angry about things not going as planned I try my best to remind myself that everything is ok. The sun is still shining and there’s always tomorrow.

Build in Time for Nothing

One new strategy that I’m trying out is planning extra time into my day for nothing. It might sound strange, but I’m trying to quit working a little earlier in the evening so I can spend an hour or two doing nothing, or doing anything I want to do. Yes, I still have to put this in schedule to make it happen, but that’s what works for me. Yes, I literally block off a time on my calendar for “nothing”. 🙂

Being a Type A isn’t a bad thing. We tend to be driven, competitive, highly efficient, and great at our jobs. But we also tend to have trouble relaxing, sleeping, and prioritizing our lives. I don’t want to fight against all of my natural tendencies so I still keep a calendar and have a plan for my day, but I’m trying to be less rigid about it when life intervenes.

Are you a Type A? How do you relax or deal with it when things do go according to plan?

Are you a Type A who needs to control everything? How you can stay in control, make a plan, but not be so rigid. You can do it, Type As! @shoeaholicnomore


  • I love the idea of building in time to do nothing! Have you read this article that’s been passed around the web lately on the idea of taking a secular sabbath from technology?
    If you haven’t, check it out — it sounds sort of similar to what you’re describing. He’s suggesting a full day, but it could be applied to a couple of hours in the day, too. The idea is to carve out some space for yourself that is sacred in a personal, not-necessarily-religious way, so that you can detach from the fast-paced world and just be.

    • That’s a great idea! I haven’t read it, but I’ll definitely check it out. 🙂 I’m trying to live a slower, more calm, life now. I don’t like always being in rush to do everything and go everywhere. It definitely takes some adjustments since our culture really makes it seem like rushing and doing everything and going everywhere is the way to get ahead.

  • “Nothing time” sounds so luxurious! Good for you for building that in. I’m definitely Type A by nature, but have become far less ambitious over time. Maybe it’s the grueling work schedule or all the travel, but relaxation is what I crave now more than anything, though that doesn’t make it any easier to come by. Kudos for prioritizing the flipside of the Type A life for yourself and finding a bit more balance.

    • It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m trying really hard to be better about relaxing and having “nothing” time.

  • Hi! New reader here and this is me to a T! I have such a hard time relaxing and always have something running in the back of my mind. I love your idea of planning in “nothing” time. I’m glad you’ve found some things that work well for you! It’s a work in progress for me still too, but I think it’s kind of that way for most people. 🙂

    • Definitely! There are days where I’m definitely not this calm or relaxed, but I’m making an effort to be more relaxed that I have been before and I think it will pay off.

  • Oh my gosh – I can SO identify with this. We are in an especially busy period right now as we prepare the farm for winter and deal with a new, busier home school schedule. Working hard on finding time to chill. Great post, my friend. 🙂

    • Thanks Laurie! I’m glad you liked it. We have quite a bit going on at my parents’ farm too, so I hear you on that one. 🙂

  • I’m a Type A personality with chronic fatigue, which often feels like a cosmic joke.

    A lot of it is just changing the wording. If I decide I want to work out at 2, and it gets to be 2:30 without that happening, I’m frustrated. I might feel like I can’t even work out at all. So now I just say I want to do something “around” a certain time. And to also say “try to” or “shoot for.” That way, I don’t get angry with myself if something doesn’t get done. It’s amazing what a slight word change will do.

    And my husband insists that I put down the computer as soon as I’m done work (unless I’m writing a post) so that I spend at least a couple of hours watching TV and chilling out.

    • Oh no! That’s sounds very tough to deal with. I’m glad you’ve found a way to loosen things up to trick yourself into still getting them done by using “try to” or “around”. Great idea!

  • I am, without a doubt, Type A. I’ve tried to get better at it over the years, and I felt like I was finally making progress before freelancing. Ah well. All your tips are spot on. I’m also trying to leave myself with a few hours of doing whatever I want (since, you know, I fail at actually “relaxing”) because it’s nice to actually wind down at the end of the day. It does no one any good when your brain has been going for hours on end and you have no idea how you’re functioning anymore. 😉

    • I hear you! I really struggle with my Type A-ness sometimes, but I’m really working on leaving more time for myself. I don’t ever really “relax” either, but I’m making an effort by leaving time for nothing.

  • Like many freelancers, I think I’m Type A too. I’m also a perfectionist (I guess that’s part of the Type A?) so everything in my life, everything, has to go perfectly or else I’m speechless. I’m so used to everything being perfect, I tend to shut down if things don’t go my way.

    I’m really looking forward to being a full-time freelancer one day and maybe relaxing a tiny bit. I’m the most relaxed when things are organized and planned, and right now, life doesn’t feel that way! That’s why I’m obsessed with my planner – it’s something I can rely on to stay organized and sane 🙂

    • I love my planner and to-do lists too. I’m also a perfectionist and I hate when things are “messed up” or don’t go according to plan. It’s the worst!


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