Rahul works by the clock.

  • 6am wake up and get fresh.
  • 6 to 7am study.
  • 7 to 7:30 shower and get ready for school.
  • 7:30 pray to God.
  • 7:35 breakfast.
  • 7:50 head to bus stop.
  • 8:30 to 14:30 school.
  • 14:30 to 15:30 afternoon nap
  • 15:30 to 17:30 homework
  • 17:30 to 19:00 play with friends.
  • 19:00 to 20:00 dinner and family time.
  • 20:00 to 21:00: study/homework
  • 21:00 to 22:00 – reading/TV
  • 22:00 bedtime

Ayan has an easier schedule:

Wakes up anytime between 6 and 6:30, depending on how often he presses the snooze button. Does either studies, or some exercise based on the day of the week and the need in the morning. Has quick shower and breakfast and generally catches the bus by 8am for school. His routine at home once back at 2:30 depends on the day of the week. He may do homework right-away, or watch TV for a while, or sleep. Going out to play with friends is fixed at 5:30. but coming back is not, as it can be either 6 or 7 or 7:30. And dinner depends on time when his father is back from work and many times its done watching TV or a movie (time permitting). Finally bed time is between 10 and 11:30, depends on if there is any pending homework or studies to be done.

Now, both Rahul and Ayan are of same age, live in the same city, go to same school and when it comes to performance, they are more or less at par (as they say in Hindi, unnees bees ka farak hain ).

Question to all – Would you rather be Rahul, having a strict schedule, down to the minute ; or would you be Ayan, who is more of a free bird, getting tasks done even if there is no fixed plan.

My answer, I would any-day be Rahul, because the discipline actually allows me freedom, rather than binding me down, which is considered the biggest downside of discipline.  It’s not just because he has provisioned an extra hour in the night to catch up for home work which makes it good. If he does not have homework on a given day, then its easy for him to do something else at that time, as a fixed alternative, rather than leaving it to chance. Rahul can even have movies/TV shows/books planned as alternatives to homework/study, which will be oriented more towards having ‘fun’, light hearted stuff, zd a contrast to studies and relate to his state-of-mind, having  just discovered that he has free time from studies. 

At the same time, Ayan is living life on ‘razor’s edge’ as he might be having fun at 8pm on one day, watching the Avengers, but the next day he is busy catching up on homework till 10:30pm in the night. 

Yes, both of them will submit the homework the next day morning, but Rahul will look far more fresh in the class than Ayan.

When we instil a regime of discipline, not only are we allocating time for activities that we MUST do in the day and also fixed amount of time, we are also freeing up on what we DO NOT need to/want to do. Its easy for  Rahul to pluck out ‘study/homework’ from the 8pm slot one day that he does not have homework and have fun. And he also ends the movie at 9pm to have his quota of reading also done on that day, as he had the ‘fun’ activity at 8pm.

Following a routine or using the calendar to plan is typically termed as ‘boring’ it is considered being ‘harsh’ as parents when they try to make their child follow the same. But in reality, its not so. It even helps to prep the mind as well. The mind gradually gravitates towards certain activities in specific time in the day and productivity and efficiency go up.

It also helps to make big decisions, as I know, cumulatively, number of hours spent in studying, having fun, doing routine tasks like commute, having meals, etc. So as I move from school to college and college to work life, I can analyse the  amount of time I spend on knowledge building and how the same is reflecting in efficiency with which I do the other tasks. Am I am thinking more about what I eat. Am I having more nutritious or healthy food? Am I getting the food from the best sources? Do I have knowledge on the best restaurants to eat at? Am I taking the most optimum route to work? Does the colleague know about report that I read this morning? Can I cite examples from the analysis I did late last evening? etc. etc.

Having an activity on the calendar in the plan, also gives that reassurance that it would done during the day, if not necessarily at the same time. I have 15 mins of meditation on Black Lotus planned every morning. But whether it is right after my journaling, or right after my run or even have it during the middle of day, when I realised I missed it the morning due to an early morning flight, I will still ensure that it is done.

Hope you get the drift. Discipline is not about binding you down to a routine. Its more about allocating specific amount of time for various activities that need precedence in the day for you and ensuring that they are given the due importance. Its not necessarily about doing the same routine every day, but at least preparing your mind for the routine, so you would see incremental increase in productivity and efficiency over a period of time. It helps to not just allocates time for the essentials, it also provisions for the same time to be used for the alternatives, if the situation permits. If you are feeling low as you are unorganised and not able to get things under control, give chance to some serious planning and I am sure the results would be worth the effort. happy planning !!


pic credit: ItsFAQ