The Productivity Challenge of an Open Schedule

One thing I’ve learned while recuperating from bunion surgery is that I am far more productive when I have a busy schedule than when I have an open schedule. I thought I’d get so many tasks done that require chunks of time to accomplish. Not! I guess the pressure of the busy schedule helped me be strategic with my time, given that the windows that were not scheduled were few and far between. Conversely, the lack of structure and consequently the lack of pressure of an open schedule make it easy for me to drift about.

For years speech participants have shared that they had high aspirations for the projects they’d get done once they retired. Once retired, however, they found they got less done than when they were working full-time. Now I really understand how that could happen!

Being able to drift for a little while is probably good for me. I’m a slave driver with myself. I really love getting things done, so I work hard and long and play very little. But, if the unstructured schedule was to become my norm, I’d have to create a structure and hold myself to it. Otherwise, life could get out of control pretty quickly!

Are you drifting when you’d rather be productive? Create a structure specifying when specific activities will be done. Or, hold yourself to doing a specific number of important tasks per day. If you find yourself cheating on the structure you’ve established, find an accountability partner who is regularly informed of your goals and timelines and to whom you can report your progress on a regular basis. Then watch your productivity soar!

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