The Overscheduled Life Is Not Worth Living. Avoid Calendar Debt.

You get back your time through discipline.

Tim Denning
Sep 14 · 4 min read
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Photo by Bradley Dunn on Unsplash

Busy is an infectious disease that could kill you.

A full calendar is no way to live your life. Gaps in the calendar bring out the best in you. They give you time to think, and create something from nothing.

When I meet people who have no time, I think of them like dead people — they’re alive in the flesh but dead inside.

You get back your time through discipline.

“No Scott I’m not attending that meeting because I am not saying anything and it doesn’t have relevance. If every meeting had relevance, then I’d have no time to do any of that stuff we call work.”

You don’t need to apologize when you guard your time. You don’t need to apologize when you say no. I get emails all the time that start with “sorry for taking up your time.”

Don’t be sorry about asking for people’s time or gaining back your own time. You get to do life once and it will be over after a few rotations around the sun.

This Is Your Life with a Full Schedule

Naval Ravikant famously said “The overscheduled life is not worth living.” This is a glimpse of what it looks and feels like.

A constant, undiagnosed feeling of overwhelm

You never feel content. You always need another distraction to prevent you from facing boredom, where the stress of your poor time management takes over. Sunday should be relaxing, yet you’re stressing about everything you have to do on Monday.

You never quite feel right. Something feels off and you don’t know why. During the four weeks you get to take off a year you feel slightly less overwhelmed. Still, you can’t help but think about everything that is waiting for you back in your hometown when the escape you call a holiday is over. This is no way to live.

Spontaneity is non-existent

You can’t say yes to those free Madonna concert tickets you get offered. Or those front row seats at a Tony Robbins event that could change your life if you could only divorce your calendar for a day.

Not knowing what is going to happen next is freeing.

Having your entire life mapped out into a schedule will make you feel like you’re a robot controlled by Elon Musk when he’s not on Twitter.

The feeling of Netflix and Chill is a distant dream

If all you do is stream, then you won’t get to take action on your dream.

With that said, a good old stream session can awaken your imagination. Watching a movie like “Dune” or “Ready Player One” or “The Matrix” can help bring back your inner-child for two hours.

Your creativity is what gets you the biggest financial rewards. And your creativity is what helps you feel fulfilled (a bigger payday).

Family get second-best

This is an unfortunate by-product of an overscheduled life. You need time with your family to remember why you work in the first place. I have seen too many senior executives in my time end up divorced or succumbing to cheating on their partner because they didn’t make time for their family.

Your job title will never be more significant than your family. Your calendar should reflect that.

You become shackled like a prisoner to your calendar

Your calendar makes all the decisions for you.

Many busy people don’t even control their calendars anymore. They’ve outsourced what they deem to be an unimportant task to a virtual assistant earning $8 an hour in a third world country.

Your calendar is the one thing you want control of.

An out of control schedule with no gaps is a one-way ticket to wreck city.

How to Avoid Calendar Debt

“Don’t spend (free) time you haven’t earned. The disciplined earner can be a guilt-free spender,” says habit-hacker and productivity expert James Clear.

Discipline is at the center of the productivity universe. Think of time like money. You spend time every day. Therefore, like your money, spend your time wisely. Don’t get into calendar debt by promising too many people a slice of the currency that is your calendar.

The worst thing I used to do was say yes to events in the future and then try and get out of them closer to the allotted time in my calendar. It was a nightmare.

Think of your calendar like a scorecard. Put in the hard work and do the difficult tasks, and then reward yourself with free time to do whatever the heck you want.

But avoid borrowing time from the future to meet today’s obligations.

What would your life look like if you weren’t lugging around so much calendar debt? How would you feel? I’ve experimented with this concept for the last few years.

My discovery is this:

Blank space in your calendar to do what you want is worth fighting for, and working hard for.

The people who have no time end up working hard for money, and switching off their consciousness. You can live with a lot less stress when you remove calendar debt.

Blank space in your calendar helps you reach higher states of consciousness because you have to think.

Join my email list with 40K+ people for more helpful insights.

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Tim Denning

Written by

Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. www.timdenning.com

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 120,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

Tim Denning

Written by

Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. www.timdenning.com

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 120,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

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