Getting More from Your Calendar

Chris Bowler at The Sweet Setup writes this week about the benefits of using a calendar to manage your life:

“While most people still stick to the use of task or project management tools, there is a growing community of people who are turning to the calendar. The value of using one is that it forces you to consider the limited resource of time. You only have so much of it (the same as every other person on the planet).”

Most of the article is great (as usual from Chris — here’s his newsletter), but I disagree with this statement:

“It’s tempting to hyper-schedule — to fill in every available 30-minute increment of the waking day — but that is folly and only leads to burnout and the desire to throw everything out the window.
What is needed is spontaneity and time to do things you enjoy. A calendar that is full of colored blocks is a problem. When I see my week getting too full, I pull back and re-evaluate. Leaving some empty spots that give you the freedom to do whatever feels right at the time is downright peaceful.”

I hear this sentiment a lot, but I think this is the wrong way to approach scheduling (and, sorry David Sparks, I just hate the term hyper-scheduling). If your week is full of work blocks in your calendar, then it’s up to you to add blocks for play. In fact, if I don’t schedule fun things in my life, they never happen. Blank spaces on my calendar tend to make me revert to the couch, or worse, the couch + Twitter.

Schedule date nights, field trips with your kids, vacations, meditation time, photography hikes, real rest, or whatever defines play for you. Make them repeating entries so you don’t have to think about scheduling them in the future. These appointments are more important than work and should be treated at least as seriously on your calendar.