Sunday 19 March 2017

Managing Your Time: The Benefits of Unscheduled Days

My trusty little Filofax is one of my most useful tools to manage my time. I have been more laid back in how I used it in the past, when I started to get fed up of being sensible and keeping track of everything by myself. This resulted in my dropping a few balls with appointments and important school dates. So in the end, with work, five kids, mum and mum-in-laws appointments, I started monitoring my time more closely and using my Filofax a bit more to make sure I don’t miss things.

One of the ways that I overcame the feeling of being constrained and time-managed to the minute, was to have unscheduled time in my diary. Another reason was because my days off from work would be used for blogging, catching up with chores or working my way through my to-do list. So I wasn’t getting much rest. I had come across the idea a few times that doing nothing was good for creativity, stepping away and resting, reading, socialising or spending time in nature allows your mind the space to bring forth its best ideas.

The final reason was because I liked the idea of being open to what the day brought. It might be more chores or just getting lost in a book, or it might be an unexpected guest, a surprising opportunity or the unplanned chance to do a good deed.

I usually pick a Friday or my busiest day for housework, Sunday and just block out one day per week, or every two weeks:

There are a number of ways you can use an unscheduled day:

Worship – It’s nice to be able to undertake worship in a peaceful, unhurried way, particularly on Fridays, it is good to have time to read the lengthier Surah Kahf which is recommended on Fridays:

It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khduri that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on Friday, he will be illuminated with light between the two Fridays.” (Narrated by al-Haakim; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 836)

Rest – How often do we get to do nothing? Modern life is certainly not conducive to doing nothing. We must always be planning, doing and achieving. This incredible drive to be moving forward in our lives all of the time, leaves us anxious and sometimes overwhelmed. Working more hours than others and yet still feeling less satisfied than ever. Even holidays and weekends are about cramming in as much as possible, ticking off checklists of the places we must eat and the sights we have to see so we can tell everyone about it. Doing nothing is the perfect antidote to the fast paced madness of the world around us. We also owe it to our health.

Fun – I love to use my unscheduled day for things I enjoy: jewellery-making, crafts, organising (I know I am a saddo, I like to organise things), blogging and most of all reading. Recently I spent a whole morning having a very leisurely breakfast and reading because builders were working downstairs and had knocked out our Wi-Fi, so I was stuck in my room with no internet. I can’t even remember the time I have had the luxury of reading for hours, I think I need to do it more often.

Break from tech – Sometimes I use an unscheduled Sunday to stay away from my laptop, ignore my phone and just generally stay offline. I usually end up spending the day outside with the kids or just throwing myself into the work of the day (childcare and house work). It’s good to do these thing without rushing on to the next so I can make time to blog or catch up with my inbox, I find myself spending my day a lot more mindfully and in the moment when I don’t have my face in a screen.

Change – Sundays in my home are usually all about preparing to go back to school and work and catching up with chores: cleaning the house from top to bottom, piles of laundry, ironing uniforms, extra cooking to see you through the start of the working week and for packed lunches, packing bags and getting school homework done. By the end of the day on Sundays sometimes I feel fed up and exhausted. So every now and again I pencil in an unscheduled day on a Sunday that allows me to banish as much of the house work as possible. I usually have to try and do as much in advance as I can (such as school bags and uniforms on Saturday) and relegate the rest to the following week. I find this is a much more pleasurable way to end the week and a more rested way to start the new one.

Do you have unscheduled time? Is it something you do consciously or does it feel like too much of a luxury?


  1. The idea that an uncluttered mind brings out the best in you is so good. Whenever I feel like I'm getting too lost in the day-to-day activities, I remove myself out of it for some while, like pressing the'refresh' button. We all need it, right? Thanx for this blog. It has taught me so much ❤

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