I don’t keep a daily schedule, here is why.

by Tobias van Schneider
first appeared
on my private email list.

A little poster we (Lu Yu & Me) designed a few weeks ago.

If you’re following me on Instagram you mostly likely have seen a couple pictures from my Iceland trip already.

I met with a friend in Iceland and the two of us rode with our Landrover Defender across the Island the last 5 days as much as we could.

Our trip was spontaneous. I live in New York, he in Austria. He didn’t wanted to go to NYC, and I wasn’t keen on visiting Austria. So we jokingly said “let’s just meet in the middle” — And that’s what we did.

Arriving in Iceland we had no pre-made plans on what we are going to do. Everything just fell into place, and I believe because of it our experience was a little stressful at times, but even more unique and exciting.

We went all the way up north to the West Fjords and completely underestimated the size, roads and weather of Iceland up there. And because we didn’t plan anything we had no place to stay.

We already expected to sleep in the car, which isn’t the most fun with stormy conditions, -5 degree celsius, no sleeping bag and no food with us.

But we kept driving and completely unexpected found a little private guest house in the middle of nowhere. We knocked on the door and luckily they had an extra room for us to sleep. To our surprise, with a natural outdoor hot tub.

That night, we witnessed the most beautiful Northern Lights.

We didn’t plan anything, but eventually ended up in a hot tub deep in the northern fjords of Iceland watching the Northern Lights dance in front of us. We still had no food, but it didn’t matter to us anymore.

___

I don’t like keeping a schedule.

People always ask me how I manage my time on all my different projects, and how I stay productive.

My answer is fairly simple: Don’t keep a schedule.

There might be benefits to keeping a daily schedule, but at the same time I feel like I’m in prison by following the exact same schedule every single day. (and I’m not talking about habits)

I noticed this even more when working full time. Your calendar becomes this place where other people simply “book” and occupy your time. Soon enough you have a full daily schedule and your calendar is packed with meetings or activities you don’t want to do in the first place.

We often believe that having a tight schedule makes things more predictable and controlled, but in reality we give away any control we have. Not having ownership over my own schedule seems like a nightmare to me.

If you want to go for a walk right now, you should always be able to just do it.

If you want to write this long awaited article right now, you should be able to sit down and start writing at any time you want.

If you want to spend all day fixing some bugs, you should be able to do it right now.

I like to work on the things that are important to me in this very moment. There is always something most interesting or most important that I like to focus on, and my schedule should give me the freedom to do so.

I recently read the book Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger and his personal approach on keeping a schedule really resonated with me.

Arnold Schwarzenegger simply does not keep a schedule. For the past 20+ years his success as an athlete, actor and politician was driven by one important attribute. Arnold does not book any appointments in advance.

By doing so, his schedule was always completely free and he had the time and space to focus on what’s important to him. If you wanted to meet with Arnold, you can simply ask him if he can do later today, as long as it’s not too far in advance. And if it’s really important, you can ask him to meet right now. (because in most cases, it’s not that important)

Not keeping a schedule is difficult. Especially when working in a corporate job or being too dependent on other people peoples schedules.

But I believe that not keeping a schedule makes me not only more creative, but also more productive. I love meeting people and hanging out, but I feel drained and locked in if everything is scheduled in advance.

Since I stopped keeping a detailed schedule I’m so much more relaxed, happier and productive. The same goes for traveling: Not keeping a tight schedule will make sure that the most random things will happen to you. You’re alive, you need to react and live in the moment.

Everyone is different, but I can highly recommend giving “not having a schedule” a try. It might be a little scary at first, but I can promise it will be exciting.

Wish you a wonderful week,
Tobias

PS: I usually send out these articles via my personal email list right here. You can sign up anytime, I won’t spam, promise.

Thanks for hitting the 💚 if you enjoyed this article. This will tell me to write more of it!

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Tobias is a Designer & Maker + Co-Founder of Semplice, a new portfolio platform for designers. Also host of the show NTMY — Previously Art Director & Design Lead at Spotify & Board of Directors AIGA New York.

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