We Need to Kill the Myth of the Perfect Schedule

Real Life Includes Housework and Random Unplanned Stuff

Karla Starr
4 min readMar 6, 2022




If you don’t, you’re an amateur. Here’s a sampling of a day that podcaster Andrew Huberman, author Cal Newport, or Tim Ferriss might approve:

  • 6am: wake up, meditate, workout, shower/self-care/coffee/journal
  • 8am: write for 3 hours, including a book chapter and blog post, in a perfectly ergonomic setup and atmosphere optimized to hit a state of flow
  • 11:30am: walk, lunch with lots of Omega 3s
  • 12:30pm: record podcast, or give a presentation, or Very Important Deep Work
  • 3pm: lift weights for an hour; mindfulness practice, walk
  • 5pm: Very Important Deep Work
  • 6:30pm: dinner, social time with family
  • 8pm: read, think Very Important Deep Thoughts, shower, journal, daily review, sleep

Got that? A few big chunks of work (coordinated with your energy peaks), plenty of exercise, healthy food, and one minor assumption: it assumes that EVERYTHING ELSE IN YOUR LIFE WILL REVOLVE AROUND YOUR SCHEDULE.

The “perfect schedule” assumes no commute, no traffic, and no chores/errands/household tasks. No sudden phone calls from loved ones, no lost items or technical issues, no surprises whatsoever. Nothing demanding any of your time or energy outside of your preordained, self-appointed tasks. No pets to walk, no diapers to change, no little hands to be washed, no temper tantrums to wait out. No lines at the grocery store, you see, because you apparently don’t have to go — because food magically appears at the appropriate time.

It assumes, in short, that the world will bend to your will. If we go back a little further and look at the history of success or productivity manuals, we learn why: These schedules assume that you have a stay-at-home wife who does everything for you.



Karla Starr

Speaker & author x2, inc. Making Numbers Count (w/ Chip Heath). Behavioral science, cultural history, numbers.