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.


  1. Beautiful post, Chrissy. The idea of "good days" caught my attention. I definitely have good days at work and bad days at work, and planning doesn't tend to determine which days are which. Or maybe I should say, MY planning doesn't, since I make plans for every day. I suppose what I'm saying is that whimsy is fun and wonderful and can make for memorable days, but the days when you get something accomplished are satisfying, and THAT feels good.

    Ambition + Discipline = Good Days
    Good Days x 10000 = A Good Life
    A Good Life = Priceless


  2. "It is a net for catching days." = Wow! I love that. However, as you know, I too enjoy goals, to-do lists, and schedules -- even when I don't quite follow them to plan.