Schedulers. Daytimers. Bullet Journalers.
Yeah, I used to be one.
It started back in college. With so much to do I constantly felt the need to have a schedule to know what I needed to do and also be sure I was making time to get done those things I had to do.
Well, I'm a chronic procrastinator. And sometimes the only way things get done would be for me to schedule them.
Plan your work - work your plan.
And to a certain degree that worked... I would take the pile of things I had to do, get a schedule format of some sort, and plan it out.
Then in the 80's I was introduced to computers and developed ways of doing the same thing with a computer program rather than a ruler, a pencil, a calendar and some highlighters. With the computer and a mouse and keyboard I could schedule my life digitally.
After that I was sucked into what all the other pastoral types were using -- Daytimers. All I had to do was purchase the little booklets in my desired format, slip it into my nifty little notebook, and keep the appointments, projects, meetings all up to date. I could purchase rulers, pens/pencils, extra and varied page inserts, and more - it was the pre-cursor to today's EDC (Every Day Carry).
But no matter the system, one quickly becomes enslaved by time schedules. Gotta get it into "the book" to be sure it gets done. It was - and still is - one of those personal itches that I have to scratch. Recently I was watching YouTube videos from master schedulers talking about "remembering all you read" and "making the most of your time" among other things. One of these cats introduces himself as having produced over 27 books, being "award winning" and blah, blah blah. Whooooo... But petty soon I was finding I felt I MUST start using this and that method or tool to schedule productivity, get more done, achieve bigger and better things, whatever.
Huge problems, though. One has to be faithful in noting all the "stuff" one has to do, faithful in updating work done and undone, etc. Regardless of whose system one uses, or what method is employed, the key is keeping it up. I mean it starts to become absurd when you start scheduling time to schedule time.
I started to think of the whole thing as being a "Day-slaver" rather than a day saver.
I guess the desire to be cleverly productive wore thin. It was soon replaced by "bullet journals" which were even MORE intensive - and I think that's when I finally realized something important.
I could schedule out everything I do - from meals, to meetings, to movements, but when it's all done, what does one have to show for it? A little book full of jottings and plottings - some of which are completed, some not, but very little of consequence in the long view.
I began to think the thing is not the schedule or even the accomplishment.
The thing is the memory. The essence of time is how well it is spent and not in how well it is scheduled.
Oh sure, I can plan every breath I take, but does it indicate those things that take my breath away? I mean after I'm gone will anyone care whether or not I was accomplished? That my bullet journal was finished and tidy?
I don't think so. The things that matter are the memories.
Watching a spider spin its web. Seeing a hummingbird feast on the blooms of summer. Take in the cool breeze of a fall evening while sipping on some hot cider. Laughing while my dog runs off his "zoomies". Seeing the peony buds in spring and remembering how my niece decided she would stealthily pick every last bud from each peony bush when she was but two.
Memory - that's the thing. I don't schedule much anymore. The odd appointment here and there written on a refrigerator calendar just as a reminder. The rest of my days are just lived as they come, day by day.
One video I watched recently ended with the video blogger asking, "Why did I take the time to do this camping trip? I did it because when I'm old I will have memories, and stories, and times to remember. Those things that make life rich and wonder-filled." I like that...
As I was thinking about all this, I still remembered an evening when I was alone in my college dorm room when I found myself tiring of scheduling everything; it's just a bunch of horse hooey. I was brain tired of studies. Someone had told me of a book they had read by C. S. Lewis called Out of the Silent Planet. They called it "Christian science fiction". I was curious. So, I picked up a copy of the book and after about 30 minutes of reading, I found myself transported to a different time, a different world, and into a story I have never forgotten. My schedule went out the window, and I found myself turning page after page and walking through an adventure of the mind. Some of my classes I remember, some of the projects I know I did because I have the degree they awarded me for having completed the courses, but only a few were truly memorable.
But the reading of that book - priceless.
And not one schedule in sight. I just picked it up, opened to the first page, and got lost among the forest of words and ideas.
I now find that the best thing to do is not to worry so much about "the schedule". Instead, the more important search is finding the memory.
And that's so much more rewarding.