Keeping on the topic of habits this week, I wanted to talk about the importance of having a schedule. I think this article probably should've come out sooner as it's vital to taking your life into your hands. In this article, I'm going to be talking about the difference between a schedule and other things you might be mistaking for it, such as a routine, or a habit. Then I will go more in-depth on what the benefits of having a properly set up schedule are. In brief, it creates unparalleled efficiency, helps in achieving goals, keeps track of success, and saves money. So let's get to it.
Routine vs Schedule
80% of Americans feel 'stuck' in a routine. That's right, they feel trapped. But didn't everyone always tell you you should have a routine? That's also right, but let's analyze the very subtle difference. Essentially, a schedule is planned, a routine is a habit. A schedule can become a routine, but not every routine is beneficial. For example, if you're used to texting before falling asleep, and you've been doing that every night for a long time, that has most definitely now become a routine. That's why if you decide to not be on your phone one night unless you're extremely tired, you won't feel the need to sleep. This happens because the body learned that sleep only comes after an hour of phone in bed. Thankfully, there are ways to resolve this, but that is beyond the scope of this article. A schedule, on the other hand, is a planned out event, which, depending on its frequency, may or may not become a routine, like cooking your breakfast every morning. Think of a schedule as braces for routines. A schedule must be planned, and therefore it is very hard to make it bad, unless the planning is bad, although, by the time you discover the downfalls of the schedule you set up it'll most likely still be early enough to reschedule without consequence.
A properly planned out schedule is perhaps the most beneficial and crucial element to a life you can control. Why? 4 reasons:
Greatly improves efficiency
Helps achieve goals
Keeps track of success
Greatly Improves Efficiency
If you take a look again at the infographic at the top of this article you can easily see that we really don't have much time left in our days to do as much as we would like to do. And on top of that, you probably waste an extra amount of years running around and planning on the fly, leaving your days as unoptimized messes. Now, you're probably thinking "yeah right, how much good can 'optimizing' do, it's not like I waste THAT much time planning on the fly". Maybe you don't, but it adds up. Take the example of UPS, they avoid 90% of left turns, this is a silly strategy for the average driver, but extended to thousands of cars it creates an enormous difference as you can see here.
Now, instead of cars think days, you saw already how a couple of minutes of teeth brushing each day adds up to years, it's the same concept with thinking about your next move in the spur of the moment. Planning out a schedule so that you know your next move not only, saves time, frees time, and reduces the need to plan on the go. It also reduces stress. Constantly being on your feet (metaphorically speaking) is like constantly being in a hockey game, your adrenaline's up, your cortisol, etcetera, etcetera. It creates an exorbitant amount of stress, which only slows you down in the long run since you will need to take even more time to relax. And speaking of relaxing, don't forget to add that to your schedule too!
Helps Achieve Goals
Because you don't need to be running around, and stressing out all the time, with a proper schedule you don't have to keep tapping into your willpower reserves every half hour or so. This allows you to keep going strong for longer, it allows you to create momentum. If you're unfamiliar with this concept, momentum is "mass in motion". At a constant speed, the greater the mass, the more momentum it has. And guess what, time moves at a constant speed. That part is already taken care of for you. So now all you need to focus on is winning every day, finish a task, reach a milestone, every day move forward. Once you start doing this you've created momentum, and that's going to be hard to stop. I can tell you personally that once I started winning something every day, I felt like shit any day I had where I achieved nothing. So, I never had those days again. The best part, I haven't had a burnout in I don't even know how long, I never have to push through when my willpower reserves get depleted.
Keeps Track of Success
Apart from achieving goals, a good schedule also lets you keep track of just how many goals you reached, or how much more until you reach them. I talk a little bit more about the importance of measuring goals here. Moreover, having planned out your day means that you took into consideration each task you have to achieve and hopefully prioritized them, meaning that you know which tasks are important and should be completed that day. A schedule helps you get the most important tasks done.
Perhaps the best reason for you to have a schedule is that it saves money, and not "time is money" money, I'm talking about real cash. Why? Simple. You know exactly what your next moves are, you are not going be caught off guard and having to go to a restaurant or order food, or even buy water, and let's face it, water bottles are appallingly expensive. You can say goodbye to last-minute, hungry grocery store trips (which we all know is very dangerous), pre-plan gas to hit the cheapest stations instead of out of town ones, the list goes on. Impulse, decisions, especially purchases, account for about $324,000 USD on average over a lifetime!
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While researching this topic I found it impossible to find negatives of having a schedule, the only one being that an improperly planned out one is detrimental instead of good, but this isn't a flaw related to schedules themselves, but rather the human behind the scheduling. Therefore, there really is no reason to not have one. And I hope that after reading this article you now understand its importance and the difference between a schedule and a routine.
Hi, I'm Matthew, my mission is to spread knowledge about motivation, productivity, and enabling people to achieve the best that they can be! I have a vast background in psychology and a passion for self-improvement. I literally can't remember a time when I didn't have a psychology book in my hands. On top of that, I've traveled around the world from a very young age, and seen many different courses of life, forming friendships with highly successful people, as well as people who are willing to do anything to make ends meet. My own life took me down a roller coaster of highs and lows, and I'm forever grateful that I've been able to overcome everything it threw at me. Now I want to take the opportunity to give back, and help others learn tools and methods for becoming who they were born to be!