02 February 2011, by A. Cedilla
When someone asks you this, you:
b) Burst into tears and run out of the room.
c) Say nothing, but a muscle starts to tic right under your eye.
d) Say you’re overloaded —pleasedon’taskmeforanyfavorsrightnowpleaseohplease.
e) “It’s fine, I’m on top of things.” (And then you get hit by lightning.)
Schedules came out of the need to coordinate resources and manpower in the industrial age.
During that time, the obsession with efficiency and productivity led scientists to analyze motion studies, breaking down each step a brick-layer took, for example, to see how it could be done faster, better. Time-tables showed how much work and how long each stage of the production line took.
Today that obsession has contributed heavily to an always-on, better-faster-more-NOW culture with a short attention span and a bottomless appetite.
We’re getting better though. Little tongue-in-cheek multiple choice test aside, people have always been able to decide for themselves what their priorities are, and after a few false starts, many have used the time-pressure to evaluate their lives and make deep changes.
For all that we like to commiserate with each other over how a) over-full b) impossible c) unmanageable d) ok, we’ll stop now — our days are, we are not servants to our schedules. We know that they are meant to serve us, and have just forgotten that.
Your schedule is your way of coordinating your resources (time, labor, money, etc.) between various tasks.
The word “routine” describes both the schedule and its connotations — it’s routine, yes? The schedule eases you along the week and the month, working around foreseeable issues – laundry, shopping, classes, work. It has a daily pattern, a weekly trend (for example, chores), monthly occurrences (bills).
Building on considerations like this into your schedule acts as support and launch points to step off of.
- When you know when you are, you have a place-point in time.
- When you know what you’re supposed to do there, you don’t drift, or waste time.
You build discipline in and practice it. Honor your limits. Don’t be a doormat and create more issues for yourself. Learn to say no to unreasonable demands and activities that provide no other benefit than distraction from essential matters.
- You don’t burn both ends and fry your immune system. Health is another resource, you know.
- When you take charge, assess and let go of trivial things that nibble at your nerves, you refuse to let blow ups, anxiety or stress pull you off course.
- You build a buffer, with checks and balances to keep you from bottoming out, or breaking down.
- You don’t have to catch as can catch, or chase and put out fires (unless that’s your job). The mere absence of the feeling that you have to can be relieving in itself.
Remember, the point is not to be a slave to your schedule, but to have a schedule that serves you.
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