Strict Schedules – Tyrannical Masters or Gentle Guides?

It’s Friday, I must write a blog post today, it’s on my schedule and I am committed to doing it before I move on to one of my less-important (but easier) tasks of the day.

Schedules, Tyrants or Guides?

Schedules, Tyrants or Guides?

For the last week I have modified my daily plan. I only schedule 6 “A” priority tasks and 4 hours to do them. Not 15 to 20 over the whole day as I had done, then bouncing between many of them and ending the day frustrated at my lack of accomplishment.

It’s a good system, I have got many more important tasks done than before. I cannot claim to have dreamed it all up myself, my daily plan is a hybrid of many that I have read about.

I still start with 5 minutes meditation and 10 minutes for checking emails and Skype for any urgent messages from family overseas or information that may change my plan for the day. No point wasting time and fuel going to meet someone for an appointment only to find the person had emailed that they were sick at home.

For most of last year, I stuck religiously to my 2 posts a week schedule. I slipped from that schedule in January, had 10 day stretches with no inspiration, little desire to write and no posts. I decided that I would only publish posts when I had something worthwhile to write about.

That was not a good strategy, it gave me an excuse, a way out. The barren stretches with no activity on the blog – and the rapid deterioration in its Alexa rating – were good reminders of what I knew and the reason I had set and followed a schedule last year. A writer must write, write regularly.

As with any skill, craft or art, it is a matter of use it or lose it. It’s the same for exercise, eating habits, learning a new language or playing a musical instrument, horse riding, public speaking and social skills – the real kind, actually talking to people face-to-face.

To get good at anything, we must practice it regularly and frequently until it becomes a habit. Whether the often quoted 10 000 hours to become an expert from Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Outliers, is correct for everything in life is open to debate. For many of us a lifetime is not enough to obtain mastery of some of the most important things, understanding the purpose of our lives being one.

The way to making regular practice a habit is by setting goals, following a schedule, commitment and perseverance.

My objective is to publish posts that will give you value, something to help you in your life, make you think or entertain you. But I find I need that goal of two posts a week to keep me writing posts regularly. Without that commitment, it’s too easy to justify not writing because I think I have nothing good enough to write about.

The commitment compels me to be creative, find a topic as a foundation for a blog post that will be valuable, inspiring, thought-provoking or entertaining for you.

I hope this one gets you thinking how schedules, commitment and perseverance might help you achieve some of your goals.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles /

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  2 comments for “Strict Schedules – Tyrannical Masters or Gentle Guides?

  1. July 10, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Thoughtful post with good ideas. I think goals and a schedule are the easiest. Most everyone has goals, or at least say they do. However, it takes commitment and perseverance to complete both goals and scheduling. I believe that commitment and perseverance are more personality driven. You either have those qualities or you don’t. However, and to some extent those qualities are also dependent on parent’s child rearing skills. In today’s laissez-faire world children grow up with few skills because no one, teachers or parents, challenged them to do more and better.

    • Peter
      July 14, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Thank you for your thoughts Roberta. While I agree that commitment and perseverance are personality driven, I also believe that they are strongly affected by parental, familial or societal influence. The age old nature vs nurture debate.

      While there are numerous examples of some families being successful for many generations, there are as many or more examples of successful people overcoming bad starts in life and also those born into privilege squandering the family wealth.

      So I suppose it depends?

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