Big Block Schedule

DD Day 032 Week 01 Q1 Thursday, February 1, 2024

What are the best number of rules in any given situation? The smallest number that you can get away with. Everyone struggles with scheduling. Creative people struggle even more with scheduling because they would like to create during their lives every day, which includes a new schedule, a new list of things to do, and a new way to do them. And even a new way of looking at life. This is not a bad thing. It is, in fact, a great thing because it means that they are living in the present moment. I myself do not know any way to be in the present moment that is more real than responding to what is happening when it is happening, and that completely blows out of the water the notion of a schedule. Of course, we all need to have schedules because there are things that we need to get done that are repetitive and routine, even if just conceptually. Yet, I am completely resistant to some outdated modality of a schedule that was handed to us.

In broad strokes, the way that I have evolved to deal with this situation is to break the day up into large blocks. And I know that the block sizes and boundaries have a tendency to move around over time, but not all of the time. For example, you could divide your day into thirds. For example, the first third could be before work, the second third was at work, and the third third was after work. If you work for somebody else who expects or requires you to show up at the same time every day and to leave at the same time every day, then the day is pretty nicely and repetitively divided.

There are people who do this for 35 years, but I am not one of them, and I suspect that many creative outliers are not either, unless they have determined that this was an excellent way to earn a living and still preserve time for them to do their creative activities before and after work. And the work part could also have creative components as well.

This is tremendously affected by how much responsibility you have to others. If you have dependents and have to earn a steady living to support them, this is the most reasonable way to go. But if you are a relatively unencumbered free spirit who is either self-employed or retired, then all bets are off. And then you become completely responsible for scheduling yourself.

I am unwilling to constrain my creativity to before and after work as my work is almost entirely creative. I also find that I need to do a fair amount of preparation to get into the right state of mind to be creative, and this consumes the first large block of the day. They’re also seem to be numerous errands and conversations that need to occur that are not part or at least not directly part of the creative process, and they need to be dealt with. For me, they usually need to be dealt with before I can sit down to be creative.

So I, too, have a three-block system. But my three blocks consist of getting calibrated first in the day. And creating in the late afternoon every day. This leaves the middle of the day for numerous meetings, errands, and going to the gym for an extensive workout.

There are many assumptions in this structure. And these may not work well for many other people and that is fine because just as I do not want to adhere to other people’s schedules, I do not expect other people to adhere to mine either. And this is why people like me are frequently, self-employed or in charge of other people who may require some external scheduling.

In any case, small schedules based on hours or half hours generally do not work for me. I need to deal with brother brush strokes more than that, and the final nature of scheduling 15-minute meetings or less does not work for my workflow or for my outfit or my temperament or personality. But then, again, I am an involuntary innovator, which has a tendency to break previously existing structures almost every day.