My mother used to have a set of tea towels that outlined the household tasks for the week. Monday was laundry day, shopping was done on Tuesday, vacuuming and cleaning another day and so it went. Each day came with an area of focus.
I was surprised to discover that many such lists – ones revised from the 1950s and many more current – exist on Pinterest. In this time of the overabundance of tasks, information and demands the merits of disciplined scheduling are reappearing.
Most productivity experts now recommend upfront thinking to prioritize the tasks of the day/week/month combined with the intentional designation of blocks of time to engage the work deemed most strategic.
Brian Tracy names the two worst enemies of excellence in our time as The Path of Least Resistance and succumbing to expediency.
The discipline of a schedule as an aid to accomplishment and satisfaction is not a new discovery.
The daily Orders of many monastic Orders were constructed on the insight that what we make time for tends to grow, what we “fit in” shrivels.
Henri Nouwen, a Catholic priest and theologian, says that “for a healthy, physical, emotional, and spiritual life, we have to structure our time.”
I know that many preachers zealously guard the first hour of each day for reading and study. Writers show up at their desks whether they feel inspired or not.
The list goes on – musicians and soccer players practice regularly if not daily.
Email has now morphed from being an effective communication tool to being seen as the Agenda of other people’s construction. Increasingly, people no longer react to the ping signalling the arrival of a new email but schedule time to triage and attend to their Inbox.
A schedule comes as gift to those serious about a full life of depth and excellence.