Scheduling Spontaneity

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Can you call it “spontaneity” if you schedule it?

During our conversation about work-life balance, a colleague asked if my life had room for spontaneity—for doing something completely unplanned or jettisoning a scheduled activity in favor of something else.

Most definitely it does. Priorities shift sometimes, requiring me to forego something I’d scheduled in favor of something else. I’d call that spontaneous—although not always in the “fun” sense of the term. Further, I actively ensure I have completely unfettered time on my calendar at least once a week.

Yes, that means I schedule spontaneity. I schedule relaxing.

Because if I don’t, it won’t happen.

Worse, when it did happen, I’d feel a slight anxiety that I’d foregone critical things—chores, errands, work, even playing with my dog or checking in with a friend or family member—for frivolity or disorganization. The time would feel purposeless. Wasted.

Yet spontaneity has deep purpose. Play keeps us vital. Downtime decreases stress. Without it, we wither. “Free time” has as much importance as all the other critical must-do life requirements, from buying groceries to washing the car to paying the bills. Even brushing your teeth.

Each week, I plan spontaneous time—blocking at least five hours on my calendar to do nothing scheduled other than the nothing I’ve scheduled. When something comes up that could interfere with the scheduled nothing, I remember the reasons I’ve blocked the time and the importance of maintaining it. Spontaneity ties to my goals. It keeps me healthy.

Do you plan for spontaneity? Do you practice spontaneity?