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Planned Sponteneity

8 Sep 2014 | Work Life Rhythm

My husband laughed when I suggested this. 

When we first got together we were pretty spontaneous. Meeting friends, going out, what’s for dinner, driving over to Italy for the weekend – all that just happened, when we felt like it. We didn’t do much planning. We didn’t need to.

Then we had kids, and in came the routines. The meal plans, the bed times, the school runs, the housework… My theory is that kids are so unpredictable, we tried to scope ahead and plan as much as we could, to give ourselves at least a fighting chance of being able to respond in the moment. Let’s face it, when you have kids, last minute is really not the time you want to be getting dinner in or buying nappies!

It got to the point where the diary and the to-do list was full weeks in advance, and my husband got frustrated that nothing happened spontaneously any more. Whenever he wanted to do something spontaneous, the day was already full of chores and commitments.

So I suggested we plan some time to be spontaneous.

I know, sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? He laughed too.

But it worked. We set aside family time, when we wouldn’t book anything in the diary. We’d book babysitters for date nights and decide last minute what we wanted to do. And earmark cave time for my husband to recharge and restore his sanity – in whatever way he chose.

Essentially, we created space to be spontaneous.

My husband mentioned this to a friend recently and he laughed too. But he tried it on a trip to New York for a friend’s wedding. In between all the wedding plans and rehearsals, times where he had to be in a particular place at a particular time, he earmarked the times that he had to himself, and used them to wander around and go with the flow. It worked for him too.

We all need time when we’re able to say to ourselves “This is my time. Time to use as I choose.” Ideally that would be all the time.

But when life is full on and full of commitments, when we do share our time with someone else, when other members of our family can book things into our diary, the way I see it, it’s better to have planned spontaneity, than to wake up with spontaneous regret for all the things you never seem to have time to do.

What do you think?


  1. Sampathkumar Iyengar

    Spontaneity sometimes misses out on the surprise element !

    • Grace Marshall

      What do you mean Sampathkumar?

      • Sampathkumar Iyengar

        Spontaneity is NOT Synonymous to Surpirse and some time in certain situations, the surprise element is the Key !

  2. Carmen MacDougall

    LOVE this post Grace and I’m going to do this too. I think what has held me back is guilt. If I chose to be spontaneous then I used to think I should be doing something for work! I will keep you posted. X

    • Grace Marshall

      Yay! Another reason to ditch guilt – you know how I feel about that topic 🙂 Looking forward to your update! x

  3. naomirichards

    I think you have to have unplanned time. Often if friends cancel on a Saturday night we still go out – just do a date night

Image if author Grace Marshall

About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

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