Why personal schedules don't work

Aug 20, 2019 2 min read
Why personal schedules don't work

The type of schedules that I'll be referring to is the one you put down a piece of paper and start writing how your perfect and productive day would be like.

Here is an example of what I used to do:

In case that anyone wants it, here it is.

As illustrated above, I would plan my meals, wake up and even the time I had to relax. While this is good in the sense of having a clear path and goal of what you want to accomplish, it is not the best approach to productivity and long-term commitment.

Let's analyze it:


  • Clear goals
  • Organized


  • Waste of time
  • Overstress for having to follow step by step
  • You are following a paper, not leading with your gut
  • More than 80% of the time you can't follow exactly what you wrote, if you do, the next week you'll be burned by over accomplishment.
  • Things can come along and life isn't exactly a straight path planned in a paper, if something comes up, your scheduled is ruined.

What I learn and what works

Think with your head. If you follow something you are not engaging 100% into the task. The best way to cultivate a habit is to think and have your mind focus on it ("Where focus goes, energy flows", remember?).

My approach

I get tempted to do my schedules all the time, but I learned that they simply don't work, we are not robots... So, what I would do is keep in my to-do list the things I have to do, and depending on the day (work or free), I would read it and see what I can do now. The fastest things first so I can get it out of the way.
The time to wake up and go to bed don't have to be on a paper for you to know at what time you have to get up or not... So as soon as you get up you THINK, what are my tasks for today (what you would normally put on a paper), that way:

  1. you can adapt
  2. you are forming a habit
  3. you are developing decision making skills
  4. you really get things done because you focus on the NOW (what do I do now, let's say cook my meal) instead of looking at a whole list that makes you lazy of all the things you have to do in a day.

The way I came up with changing things up is by looking at how I approach the gym. When I need to go to the gym, I don't start looking to all the things I have to do, imagine... I would just lay on the couch mentally tired by thinking about it... So, what I do is just go, put my thoughts in a blank state at the moment and simply get out of the door. So, the same concept applies for the scheduled, simply wake up and do what you know you have to do. Leave the real scheduled for things like classes, work or things like that.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any ideas or if you agree or not in the comments below.

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