I admit it. I am the kind of person who likes to-do lists, schedules, routines and calendars. I feel very organized and productive when I can look at my list of tasks to see what I’ve accomplished and have yet to accomplish. I have even gone so far as to create a calendar for the fun and 100% optional activities I want to do this summer, things such as going to the farmer’s market and attending concerts in the park. If you’ve ever taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator test, you’ll know what I mean when I say I’m a “J”.
I often feel a little bit aimless or adrift when a day without a schedule is in front of me. I’m afraid I won’t make good use of the day if I don’t have a list of things to do. I hate the idea of wasting this precious time. Even though I know it’s good for me to have free time to just take things slowly and spontaneously, it often feels unnatural to me.
Lately, even though I’ve had lots of unscheduled days, I’ve had some very creative (in my opinion) ideas and opportunities come to me. If I had had a schedule to keep I would probably have missed out on these moments, which is a very sad thought. I feel like these ideas and moments have “come from nowhere”, which I know is impossible and false, but it’s the sensation I’m left with nonetheless. If my time had been taken up with a schedule to keep, I wouldn’t have had the freedom to just accept certain creative opportunities, with no specific goal in mind. If my mind had been occupied by the list of tasks I had to accomplish, I might not have been in the right frame of mind to solve a problem with a creative solution.
Even though I am excited about this burst of creativity in my life, it’s probably not enough to change my nature as an organized, methodical person. I guess it’s just a reminder that life well lived is about finding a balance. The pendulum may swing from one extreme to the other at different points in my life, but I can be assured of a good measure of happiness and fulfillment if I recognize that I need a good deal of both structured and unstructured time.