The Unstoppable Magic of Writing Down a Daily Schedule
Laziness. Many of us suffer, to some degree, from this condition that’s arguably a disease. Whether or not we choose to admit it, varies by person to person. It’s something that many easily blame, yet so often it’s mitigated with a subtle or playful joke. “I would follow my dreams, but sleeping in until noon just sounds too tempting,” as said by a countless number of people. They know that they’re making a mistake by sleeping in, but by saying it in a somewhat amusing manner they feel less guilty when cracking a joke about it. This too often is the case nowadays for people, especially since modern technology has become such a regular part of our daily lives with high-speed internet, smartphones, high definition TV’s, etc. We live in a day in age where people are highly addicted to watching YouTube videos, scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, and watching Netflix and Hulu. All of these examples of instant entertainment provide the consumer with small dopamine “hits” that form in their brain and make them feel a positive reaction every time they find a new piece of digital pleasure to their liking. But should be put all of the blame on modern technology for causing people to be lazy? Of course not. That would be like blaming soda and other sugary beverages as the sole cause of why so many Americans are either overweight or obese. There’s more to the story than just that one detail. I don’t really know the exact details as to what causes laziness but I do know that it’s been a big part of my life. I’ve struggled with a lack of motivation throughout my teens and early twenties and just now have made the turn towards the right direction in my mid and late twenties. So how did I, a seemingly chronic lazy bum, change it all around? I can point towards two answers. The first being that I started to have a “crisis” of some sorts and realized that I indeed won’t be living forever, and will eventually have many regrets for not doing more in life. And the second being that every day I now jot down my daily schedule on what I plan to take care of that day. Anything can be included in this schedule, there are no limitations and you can put as much as you think you can accomplish in each day. So many of you might ask, “Yeah, that sounds very straightforward and easy, but how exactly is setting a schedule something magical?” Well, let’s take a deep dive and take a look.
When I was younger my agitated mom and dad would always wake me up on the weekends in frustration because I constantly slept past noon back in those days. They always raised their voices and exclaimed that I was wasting my life sleeping this late and that I would regret it by the time I got older. Well, they were undeniably correct when they were saying this back then. Now I have to choose to let this fuel me and not break me because that’s the best way of going about my past regrets I tell myself. Back in my childhood days, I had felt that I had earned the right to sleep late because I went through the pain of going to school the first five days of the week. Not only does having this mentality waste your weekend, but it also harms you in the long run. By being lazy on the weekends, I was subconsciously telling my brain that I didn’t have to do anything important those two days. You hear a lot of different kinds of experts say the words, “How you do anything, is how you do everything.” I can’t help but agree with this statement because I’ve seen evidence of this many times in my life throughout the years. Whenever I half-assed my workout at the gym, I subconsciously half-assed my studying for an exam that night. Whenever I was lazy at work, I got lazy when I got home and ordered delivery instead of cooking a healthy meal. I don’t know the scientific explanation behind this phenomenon, but if you look online at various psychology articles you can definitely find detailed reasoning as to why this exactly occurs. If the end result of being too lazy is regret, then what’s the best way to stop being lazy?
I had heard about the powers of setting a schedule a long time ago when I was just a kid. But of course, as you can tell by now, I was far too unwilling to listen to anybody or do anything productive back in my childhood days. Recently, however, I’ve been listening and watching more educational programming with documentaries, podcasts, and YouTube videos. One day I was watching The Joe Rogan Experience podcast (an interview-style podcast) on YouTube and the guest of the day was a man named Dr. Jordan Peterson. He is a famous clinical psychologist from Canada who is occasionally seen on the news because of some of his interviews on political networks where he shares and argues his conservative views as well as his thoughts on psychology-related topics. On the podcast, he was talking about some of the mental health problems that the youth face nowadays and how it seems that the situation will continue to get worse. He mentioned the Big 5 Personality Traits (extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism) that everyone has inside of their brains and how important it is to figure out which ones you are high and low on. He mentions how you can take a personality test on his website and can find out the results if you haven’t already. I took the test and found out that I am very high on the neuroticism scale and very low on the extraversion one (which I already knew for a long time). This means that I am very introverted and very susceptible to experience negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, etc. But the part that really surprised me was when I saw that I wasn’t very high on the conscientiousness scale, which meant I wasn’t very organized and didn’t pay attention to details. I always thought I would rank moderately high on this type of scale, but I found out that, in reality, this isn’t actually the case. I remembered that the host of the podcast (Joe Rogan) asks Jordan Peterson what young people with depression and anxiety should do to get better. The answer kind of set me back a little when he replied by saying to “set a daily schedule”. This at first didn’t make much sense to me and was a pretty odd response I thought. However, I knew that this man is a professional and cares deeply about his work and the advice he gives to the general public. I decided to give it a try and see what the results would be when I set a daily schedule. The results astounded me. I was significantly more efficient and was able to accomplish a ton more by setting a basic daily schedule. I noticed that prior to my taking part in this activity, I always seemed to forget what I wanted to accomplish next for the day. And as a result of my forgetfulness, I usually tended to go back to my usual comfort zone activities like scrolling through Facebook and Instagram on my phone or aimlessly surfing the Internet on my laptop. This goes back to my firm belief in the “how you do anything is how you everything” principle. If you’re not organized from the moment you start your day, then you’re much less likely to accomplish everything you wanted to do that day. This experiment really opened my eyes significantly, not just because of how effective it is, but also how simple of an activity it is. All you have to do is write down your daily goals on a piece of paper or your smartphone and make sure your room is organized and tidy. That’s not difficult at all, anyone can do it. The problem is that so many people don’t know about how important this daily routine is, or they don’t put 100% effort into it. If they would just take a few minutes a day to think about what their goals will be for the next day, then their lives would be much easier. And after you complete those goals, you feel happy and satisfied that you got them done. A big part of happiness is overcoming challenges. If everything were easy, then you would never feel the sense of triumph when overcoming a tough obstacle. This is why not all of the things that you write on your daily schedule should be easy. Continuously writing things like “go to eat lunch at noon” and “have some drinks with friends at the bar” are more like a type of grocery list than a daily schedule. At the same time, you shouldn’t put too many difficult items on your daily schedule or you may get pretty overwhelmed. Always shoot for a happy medium.
Based on the information above, you can clearly see the great benefits of setting a daily schedule. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain when it comes to doing this simple task. Human beings need a clear route of where they are going in life and a daily schedule provides that for them. Don’t just take my or Dr. Jordan Peterson’s word for it, do your own research and see some of the other benefits that setting a daily schedule gives you. Experts say that we are the sum of all our habits and by taking the initiative today, we can definitely expect a greater tomorrow.