"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of." – Benjamin Franklin.
Time that isn't planned is up for grabs.
And grabbed it will be. Either by people or by the many distractions fighting for our attention.
In the few weeks leading up to Christmas, I was more lax about scheduling my time.
Consequently, I ended up with disrupted work days, where deep work was interrupted by video calls and meetings. I strive to have as calm a work week as possible, and this is the opposite of that.
Like me, you are most likely more productive, less tired, and less stressed when the week is well orchestrated.
To achieve this, we only need to obey a couple of simple principles: plan what matters, be 'busy' by default, and have 10% wiggling room.
1. Plan for what matters
According to one of my rules:
"Repeat to yourself and others what truly matters to you. Even if you think you know, it's easy to forget; when you do, you become miserable chasing something unimportant."
Organizing your week can help us achieve that. We ask ourselves: what currently matters for me? We identify your priorities: who we want to be, and what we want to do.
Then, we place that on the calendar first.
For me, it means ensuring that I have two strength workouts, one long run, at least one block of time to write essays like this one, and silent/prayer time every morning. I also have several deep work time blocks to make progress on my projects.
2. Busy by default
As I said, time that isn't scheduled is up for grabs.
If you were to look at my calendar two weeks from now, you would see that it's already quite packed! My priorities have dedicated time, and I have also already reserved deep work time blocks.
Most of these are recurring events, so I don't have to think about it much. However, I review my upcoming week every weekend and make changes if needed. I sometimes change recurring events to reflect my new priorities, but most of the time, I only change a single event or two.
3. 10% wiggling room
It's hard to know what life will throw at us. I keep my Wednesday mornings unplanned to account for some of the unpredictable. That way, I can have physical or video meetings or work on other projects (often something that matters to someone else, more that it does to me.)
Wednesday mornings are when I look first if someone asks for my time.
In reality, I remain flexible more than I would like to admit.
But what matters is that the default is that I'm mostly busy with what's important to me.