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 probably not a great thing. But if you do not use one at all because you want to be free and spontaneous, you may want to reconsider.

What does it mean to “live in the moment”? It means to be completely present and not think about other things. But if you have a lot to do (or anything to do), how can you not think about it?

That is where the calendar comes in—if you know that you have a set time to do something later, you are free not to think about it now. That means that, if used correctly, those suffocating calendars can actually help you live in the moment!

Not only will a calendar give you more free time (through better organization), but it will allow you to enjoy it more. If you have blocked in free time into your calendar, you know that there is absolutely nothing else that you should be doing at that time.

Calendars can be restraining when you put too much into them, or try to stick by them too strictly—especially when you create self-imposed commitments or self-imposed deadlines. But people have come up with many calendar tricks that you can customize to yourself.

A trick I really like is a mental “if not now, when?” check. If I blow something off now, when will I actually get to do it? If the answer is “never,” then I should probably do it immediately. But if there is another convenient block of time when I can do it, there no reason I should not do something spontaneous and interesting if I have the option.

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 is what my calendar says.

Written by Natalia Dashan

I studied psychology and computer science at Yale. Graduated in 2016 B.S. Psychology. Wingwoman by assertion.

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