Retroactive Freedom

I realized something very important about myself today. I’m waiting in Safeway for my sister Mary to join me on our first guided Rebecca’s-becoming-an-adult grocery shopping trip, and I’m looking at my phone as usual. I remembered that the work I’d gotten done that afternoon – which mind you was still very productive – was not what I’d originally calendared myself to work on. So naturally I wanted to make sure I adjusted my day’s schedule to account for this. As I’m doing that, it hits me. I do this a lot! And by this, I mean retroactively update my schedule to reflect what I actually end up doing each day. I lay out my whole day’s schedule with that I intend to do. And then I do something else!
So what, you may ask, is the point of setting a schedule in the first place? Well what’s really going on here, I realized, is the stronger desire in me to reject routine. You see, I carefully construct these detailed daily schedules largely so that I will then have something to reject! OK so true, they also help me motivate into a productive mindset. And true, I do tend to get more done on the days I’ve calendared myself work time. But the more important thing to note here is that no matter what that scheduled work time specified, I almost always work on something entirely different with that time. Amazing!
So in actuality, I don’t really like structure or preparation or planning at all! The truth is I just can’t help but do those things out of instinct. But then the deeper desire to be impulsive kicks in, and I reject that which I myself just organized. Then, as mentioned earlier, I retroactively update my schedule as I go, which in the end feels quite satisfying I have to say. So it may seem unnecessarily counter-intuitive to you, but to me, it’s a way I know how to give myself a small daily dose of freedom.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jason
    Dec 18, 2010 @ 13:22:23

    "I tell this story to illustrate the truth of the statement I heard long ago in the Army: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. There is a very great distinction because when you are planning for an emergency you must start with this one thing: the very definition of "emergency" is that it is unexpected, therefore it is not going to happen the way you are planning." –Dwight D. Eisenhower


  2. Trackback: Chaos is the Mother of Invention « The Writes of Passage

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