Ahead of Schedule

By Gillian Callison

Published July 2nd, 2017

Scheduling Life

From the very beginning of life our time is scheduled. In our earliest days someone else sets our schedule. From how often we eat as an infant to later when we're in school following a designated schedule, our time is not our own. Add in after school activities determined by coaches, dance, camp, or activity instructors and your day has become completely booked. Moving into adulthood work life sets our schedule for us. All other activities must be coordinated around that. Even if you work for yourself, you will find creating a schedule will help you make sure all the necessary details get done and your business is more successful.

Taking a hint from nature, our society creates schedules to follow. Nature has seasons which dictate when many things can occur. There is a growing season and a harvesting season. Then things go dormant so that the world can rest and reset before the cycle begins again.

Schedules are another set of rules used to coordinate many people working toward the similar outcomes. If you work for an employer, that company needs to have all their employees work pre-determined hours. This helps with collaboration and achieving company goals. Perhaps it is a retail outlet that has set hours. Employees must follow a schedule assigned to them so that the store is open for customers during established hours. The hours exist to give customers the knowledge of when they can and cannot go to that store. It all makes perfect sense. Then there are the unscheduled - the rebels in our midst!

The Unscheduled

In our society, where most everything has a schedule, it is difficult to break free and live an unscheduled life. You would constantly bump up against others' schedules along your journey. However, if the unscheduled life is important to you, be sure to always carry with you a very relaxed and flexible attitude. There are many who do subscribe to this way of life. Those who do ignore man-made schedules and step along to their own beat doing things in their own time. If someone else's schedule doesn't jive with theirs, a simple shrug and a thought of "next time" will help them move on to whatever comes next. It sounds dreamy, but not likely something I personally could embrace on a regular basis!

A Well-Planned Life Goes Rogue

My current employment in a school setting has a definitive cycle. One that has become almost second-nature to me over the many years I have worked there. Part of that cycle is the "off-time". Also known as Summer! A welcome respite from the demanding work of the school year, it also brings with it a loss of scheduled and structured time.

These are the days without the familiar framework which keeps me on task and ensures the most important things get done. Summertime is when I can spend time rejuvenating and also work my "side-hustle" a little more intensely. However, I have not found a magic formula for these days when I'm working my own business. I tend to fall into the style of an unscheduled life, going with the flow and puttering about working on this and that with less direction than I would normally have. Perhaps I am embracing my inner rebel and exploring my unstructured side. I find there is greater challenge to set up my own structure for the day when working for myself from home.

Lassoing the Schedule

If I feel that I'm not accomplishing enough for my business during this window of time, then I must examine how I work the rest of the year to see if there is something I can capture to incorporate into my work-from-home workday. Ideally I like to move from task to task and then back again fairly quickly. Interruptions are actually a mode I am used to and comfortable managing. I also like to be moving physically throughout my day. Merging these two small details into my at-home workday will bring some familiarity and perhaps unstructured scheduling into my day.

We all need a small bit of structure in our day. Whether it's when to wake or sleep or when to eat a meal, which can be driven by physical need rather than a clock, we do these within our day, everyday. They provide a small amount of regular structure from which all else can work around. More detailed schedules are optional depending on the life we choose to lead.

Schedules, however, are not the enemy. Schedules help us in many ways. They let us know when we can do certain things. They help ensure that important details needed to complete a task are not overlooked. They help us to balance out what we spend our time doing. We just need to remember that we don't have to schedule every minute and that unscheduled time is just as important.

Now, write THAT down in your schedule!