Do We Really Need a Schedule?

Does your life need every hour scheduled? Every 15 minutes? Does that even make sense?

Some folks live and breathe the How to Succeed books, devour them, in fact. They do everything the books say and begin the climb up that corporate ladder or grab the brass ring as it whirls by. And to what end? So they can be judged as successful in the world’s eyes.

Valid reasons exist for setting and keeping to a schedule. Earning a high school diploma and then certification in a field of work, or a college degree might be some of them. Wanting to achieve your potential or do good for millions in the world are also valid reasons.

However, some people are so pointlessly goal-oriented that they think everyone else’s life should be run according to a military regimen like their own appears to be. Their day begins with something like Reveille or The Rouse or whatever else is used. It’s rendered by a bugler and cursed in many different ways, depending on country and military division: Ya gotta get up, ya gotta get up, ya gotta get up this morning! Once you’ve been discharged from military duty, no, thank you. And our personal alarms that get set? Just the civilian version.

But beyond getting yourself up in time to start work or get to school, you, too, can be booted out of the barn with the dang rooster. Leave the rest of us alone, please.

Once people get past their teenage years of constant physical growth, and the long hours of sleep they need for that, most of us are perfectly capable of getting up and starting the day at a reasonable time on our own terms. And if at first we’re not, we learn the hard way. When we’re 59 years old, we shouldn’t be relying on someone else to get us up in the morning, anyway. Not unless we’ve been up half the night dealing with an emergency. Stuff happens, after all, including poor health.

We plan tomorrow the night before, so that we have focus and order for the coming day. Sometimes we can plan multiple chunks of the coming week due to known appointments. But scheduling every hour? Why put that load of stress on ourselves? If there’s a way to schedule a work meeting for a day when I don’t already have two others, I’ll do it. If I already have a doctor appointment one day, a week-night church meeting on another, and a class on a third night, that’s it for the week. In between, I have real work that has to get done and I need flexibility, not a schedule set in stone, to complete it.

In all the frantic focus on gotta get this done and that done, and that done, we lose sight of the fact we’re sacrificing precious time that could be spent on building relationships, listening to people who need to talk, and making people feel that they matter in our lives. If the stupid report doesn’t get run before end of day Friday, the due date needs to be changed so it can be pulled first thing Monday morning. So the CEO or more likely, some underling, chokes on their coffee at having to wait an extra half-hour to read it? Well, power has its limitations and sooner or later, that fact sinks in. Real leaders don’t throw tantrums when they find out their direct reports aren’t yet robots.

We often forget about taking care of ourselves. Sleep deprivation is a major health hazard in many western countries and leads to countless so-called accidents that aren’t accidents at all and could have been prevented. If we’re really going to schedule all of our time, then we need to schedule time for ourselves first. We block out time to read something inspirational, including Scriptures, before we start the day. We block out additional time to unwind without our electronic gadgets at the end of the day. We block out our creativity time. Use it or lose it.

I won’t be the first to say that all Moms are Working Moms, though it’s amazing how many people are so ignorant they don’t think that’s true. Moms will probably laugh at any suggestion of scheduling their lives. Only the big things matter, depending on the age of the children: feeding time, diaper changing, bath time, and trying to put them down for a nap, taking a nap yourself.

Let’s not forget getting them to the babysitter or to school on time, and getting yourself to a possible outside job or to classes. Picking them up from school on time, after school activities, snack time, dinnertime, bedtime. And somewhere in there is playtime and reading and singing to them, and taking a shower and washing your own hair. Oh, and laundry. Picking up toys? Forget it, unless you’re teaching them how to do that.

Does your life need every hour scheduled? You might accomplish a lot or you might accomplish something that’s a lot more important if your life isn’t overly scheduled. Your choice.

Disclaimer: My blog posts are statements of opinion only. I am not in the business of giving financial, legal, medical, or any other type of advice. See Terms of Use and Disclaimer for further disclaimers.

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