Does your calendar look like a masterfully played Tetris game—filled to the top with colorful shapes, with only a dark sliver of free space along the side where you get to sleep? Or are you one of these guys:
“I don’t use a calendar.”
“Why don’t you just live in the moment?”
“Be more spontaneous.”
The thing is, calendars are pretty great. I think that everybody should use one, and just customize it to their life. Calendars can be incredibly restraining or super liberating depending on how you use them. If you literally don’t give yourself any room to breathe, that’s probably not a great thing. But if you don’t use one at all because you want to be free and spontaneous, you might want to reconsider.
What does it mean to “live in the moment”? To be completely present and not be thinking about other things. But if you have a lot to do, or anything to do really, how can you not think about something else?
That’s where the calendar comes in–if you know that you’ll just do something later, you’re free to not think about it now. That means that those suffocating calendars are actually helping you live more in the moment! And you are more spontaneous because with the new organization you’ll have more free time.
Calendars get to be restraining when you put too much into them, or try to stick by them too strictly—especially if what you’re trying to stick to are self-imposed commitments or self-imposed deadlines. But there are some tricks you can use.
Something I do is use a mental “if not now, when?” calendar. If I blow something off now, when will I actually get to do it? If the answer is “never,” then I should probably do the thing. But if there is another convenient time, there’s no problem doing something else. It’s a way to guarantee the option for spontaneity.
You can also be as generic or as specific as you need to be. You can block off several hours and just call it “work” or just make sure that you put in 8 hours of work per day.
Now, I’m going to go watch an hour of Netflix before bed. Because that’s what my schedule says.