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Schedule over spontaneity

I write often about how I live by a schedule, set goals for my year, and plan every hour of every week. In doing so, I lose out on a lot of spontaneity. Given that I always have something that I'm supposed to be doing, I often say no to things that come up on the fly.

This often leads me to ponder whether living by a schedule is all that good and makes me wonder if I'm missing out on crucial things in life by not being spontaneous. And I almost always conclude that living by a schedule is far more beneficial in the longer run than living a spontaneous life.

Earlier today, I was listening to the conversation between James Altucher and Ramit Sethi on James's podcast where Ramit spoke of the importance of rules when it comes to spending money. And that made me think about how my way of setting goals and living by a schedule is in essence living by rules.

I almost never do whatever I feel like at the moment. Instead, I do what I have planned to do at that time, irrespective of whether I feel like doing it or not. Over time, I have grown to like everything that I do regularly and the things I particularly don't enjoy doing, I've cut out of my life.

Living by rules and living by a schedule has one supreme advantage over not doing it.

When we do things as they come without deliberately planning our time or our goals, then we tend to make decisions that are driven by our emotions at the point of making the decision, which could fluctuate wildly. And will power only comes into play when we make decisions in this manner. Our rational minds know what the right decision to make is that will benefit us in the longer term, yet our emotion at the time of making the decision overpowers it and leads us astray. This is the reason we convince ourselves it is alright to skip going to the gym one day, or to eat unhealthy one weekend, or to splurge on that thing we don't need 'this one time'.

When we make decisions in different emotional states, we leave it to chance as to how often we make the right decisions and that chance is stacked against our long term benefits.

However, setting aside an hour a week to plan and schedule my week, setting aside time to make key decisions on how I spend my time, how I spend my money, who I spend my time with, etc allows me to turn the odds strongly in the favour of what is beneficial to me in the longer run.

When I'm making all my decisions in a short span of time, I can ensure that I'm in a peak emotional state when I'm making these decisions, whereas I can't ensure that I'm in a peak emotional state all the time.

When I make decisions in a peak emotional state, I have a much higher probability of making the right decisions. And the rest of the week, all I need to do is follow through, accepting the fact that I have no more say in changing the decisions I've made. Whatever my emotional state is during the rest of the week, I'm committed to abide by the decisions I've made and the plan I've created for myself.

Living by rules and living by a schedule has one supreme advantage over not doing it. And this is to drastically increase the odds of making the right decisions for our longer term benefits. Compound this week on week for hundreds of weeks that we'll live for and it is a no brainer that everyone ought to be doing this.

Are you?

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