“If I’m super organised, I can’t be spontaneous.” The question I get often is “can being productive make you more spontaneous”? That is a comment I get a lot from clients – they feel you are either one or the other. But that’s simply not true. For instance, when was the last time you finished work early to go to the beach? Or took a guilt-free day off with the family just because you could?

Focusing your time better when you need to

If you’re an organised person you are normally calm, collected and on-top of things. You know what’s what, where things are, what you need to be doing and by when. This level of control comes with the reward of time if you are clever about it. Being organised, if done well, can free up precious time to do with as you please. When do you normally want to have more flexibility? Typically this could be during the school holidays or over the summer. If you work smarter most of the time, you can afford to go out to play when you choose. It also gives you time to allow for the little emergencies which inevitably happen.

Don’t let your time manage you

Managing your time and not letting it manage you is very beneficial. It leads to more happiness, an increased wellbeing and sense of self alongside achieving a healthy work/life balance. Having time is the one thing we can give ourselves. Through being organised, learning the power of saying ‘no’, knowing our self-worth and how to set boundaries. Doing this means we can welcome spontaneity with open arms. Setting clear boundaries is something I encourage for my clients. When you set boundaries, you become more productive and you can be more spontaneous.

Order and chaos – we all go through it

How do you fare would you say? Are you organised 24/7 or do you manage to keep on top of things most of the time but have days that are just chaos? I’d say the latter applies to most of us. But it’s worth remembering that when you are smashing it and on top of the to do list, ensure you are spontaneous when you have the time. During the manic days, you’ll reflect and will be glad you did.

Days turning into weeks and months in a blur

At the other end of the spectrum are the people that go from day-to-day in a blur, sadly wasting time and vital energy just getting through the day. Does this sound like you? What I suggest is to really look at how you’re spending your time and work out why you never have any to spare. What are you really doing to fill those hours? From there, definite inroads can be made to save time and really assess what you’re doing and why.

If you work smarter, you can afford to be spontaneous

I work with a number of my clients on getting organised and setting systems in place to allow that free time and spontaneity to be present in their lives. This can include things like introducing delegation to their world, shifting their working patterns slightly, writing that all-important to-do list the night before and getting enough sleep.

Subtle shifts in habits can make a huge difference to our daily lives and give you that all important freedom that we all need. This is how working smarter and being more productive can make you more spontaneous.

Could I help you and / or your team marry up the organised and spontaneity bedfellows?  Do get in touch if so.


Emma Mills-Sheffield FRSA is a strategic business advisor and coach working with clients in London and Brighton. She now helps businesses become more efficient and productive to get the best from their organisation having spent 15 years in industry. By reviewing business operations and investing in people, this encourages business growth with a more productive and happy workforce. In short, helping businesses get shi*t done.

In January 2020 she was named as one of 100 female entrepreneurs in the UK as part of the small business campaign f:Entrepreneur. The campaign including #ialso Top 100 is a collection of women who inspire their peers and communities through their businesses and wider activities.