Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Importance of Schedules



I am reading Annie Dillard's The Writing Life for a class, and I find myself dog-earring every chapter, reading passages aloud to Nathan, and highlighting 3/4 of every page. My favorite section thus far is Dillard's thoughts on schedules. It is well documented that I thrive on habits and traditions - that daily goals, weekly calendars, and long term plans make me productive which, in turn, makes me happy. Often I feel this is a flaw in personality - what about adventure, spontaneity, whimsical adventures? Sure, those lead to memorable days but, as Annie says in another part of her book, good days don't necessarily add up to a good life. And friends, I am interested in a good life. Which means I welcome adventure. I just need to pencil it in a week beforehand.

But enough about me. Let's hear from Ms. Dillard.
I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order - willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern. 

Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
"A blurred and powerful pattern." Now that's a life I can get behind.