My dad used to build houses for a living. He believes one of the reasons for the prevalence of mold these days is that homes are being built so air-tight and energy-efficient, there’s no room for the house to “breathe.”
Our lives can be similar. They are often scheduled down to the minute, one day to the next, with no room to breathe. As a result, spontaneity is cut out and life gets stale and moldy.
As evidence of its sinister nature, Adultitis likes to cast spontaneity as the enemy, a disruptive force that wreaks havoc on our perfectly manicured plans. But in truth, spontaneity is the catalyst for magic in our lives. Spontaneity opens the door for wonder to walk through. It invites the Universe to surprise and delight us in ways we never could have predicted.
Indeed, our most treasured memories — the ones we reminisce about with loved ones — regularly come out of an unplanned moment of spontaneity:
The romantic indoor picnic by candlelight that time the power went out.
The impromptu Bon Jovi car dancing concert at the end of that long and tiring road trip.
The best milkshake you ever had at that offbeat diner you stopped at in the middle of nowhere.
I’ve never heard anyone say they have too much magic and wonder in their lives. But I’ve run across countless people – very productive ones I might add – who feel like their lives have turned stale.
Like travelers trying to stick one more pair of shoes into an already overflowing suitcase, we are ever on the lookout for the latest productivity hack that will enable us to squeeze one more activity into our schedule. Our calendars runneth over with recitals, meetings, games, playdates, family obligations, and household errands. Even our vacations are scheduled, down to the minute.
Perhaps the productivity hack we are missing is actually scheduling time for spontaneity.
Can one schedule spontaneity? Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron?
Well, we certainly can’t predict what will come from our moments, but we sure can schedule more space for them to happen. I like to think of it as “unscheduling.” Here are some tips that have worked for me:
- One thing I cannot recommend highly enough is the commitment to practice a weekly Sabbath, no matter what your religious leanings may be. It totally changed our lives and keeps us from going crazy.
- When you plan out your day, don’t fill every minute. Create space for the unexpected phone call, friendly visitor, or the project that goes longer than expected.
- And when it comes to vacations, fill even less. Sure, block out the big things, the landmarks and tourist attractions you’d like to see, but block out some space for the unexpected side roads or to merely just “be.”
Spontaneity builds relationships. It can breathe new life into stale ones.
Unschedule some time to go do something unexpected.