Rosanna Machado | October 14, 2021

Friends have joked that I am the least casual person they know – always organising everyone and fitting my eclectic interests into the week. In my coaching, I often talk about looking to schedule those moments that will help you feel physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually fit. So, I was particularly interested to read that over-scheduling can be detrimental. Whilst I cannot deny that I love my habit tracker, I have got more comfortable with uncertainty, improvisation and letting things happen. My coaching supervisor, Kay, describes her coaching beautifully when she tells me that she looks for “interest, energy and intent and the organic revealing of the next step.”

And research by Selin A Malkoc, associate professor of marketing at the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, shows that if we over-schedule our leisure activities, we lose the sense of enjoyment and fun. I’m drawn back to my favourite quote about awareness from Phil Joyce and Charlotte Sills “You feel fully alive, exquisitely aware of being in the moment, with a sense of connection, spontaneity and freedom.” I’m sure we can all identify with this – those unexpected evenings out, that chance conversation with someone that brings that moment of joy and spontaneity into your life.

Furthermore, our perception of time in non-linear so if we have 4 hours free before a meeting, the last hour is thought to be less sufficient than the last hour and we tend to carry out less meaningful tasks in that last hour.

I’m not about to throw the schedule away but I do think that we can recognise when scheduling is helpful or not, to maximise our enjoyment, productivity and sense of spontaneity.

  • Know yourself and what works for you
  • When tasks require concentration, think of scheduling blocks of time, rather than a rigid hour, to give yourself some flexibility
  • Be aware of the non-linear perception of time – trust yourself that the last hour is as valuable and the same amount of time as the first hour!
  • Build some freestyle time into your leisure activities
  • Allow time for the magic to happen – those moments between scheduled activities are often the most meaningful if you are present and open to seeing them

I am a big advocate of balance in life and making choices about how to spend your time, so when you do schedule, do it in line with your values and purpose and moving towards living a more fulfilled life.