You Should Plan to Be Spontaneous

‘Planned Spontaneity’ is a crucial productivity secret nobody talks about

Nir Eyal
Published in
5 min readJun 22, 2021


Photo: We are/Getty Images

Do you sometimes feel you lack spontaneity in your life? And yet you’re running ragged, cranking at work, taking care of the kids, and managing all of life’s other responsibilities. If there’s not enough time for your own wants and needs, how can there ever be enough time to live with joyful abandon?

There’s a simple technique that allows you to step off that hamster wheel and add greater spontaneity to your days. And the best part is you don’t have to give up the sense of order that your life needs.

Productivity and spontaneity are not opposites, as most people think. Let’s take a look at how they can work in tandem.

The three life domains

The Stoic philosopher Hierocles demonstrated the interconnected nature of our lives with concentric circles. He placed the human mind and body at the center, followed by your family in the next ring, fellow citizens and countrymen next, and all humanity in the outermost ring.

Inspired by his example, I created a way to simplify and visualize the three life domains where we spend our time — work, relationships, and you.


The innermost circle is essential for obvious reasons. You need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, your health, and your wellness. If you’re not taking care of yourself, your relationships and work suffer. You need “you time” in your schedule.

The next domain, relationships, is significant because the people we love shouldn’t be content getting whatever time is left over. That domain extends beyond just family. Not scheduling time for the important relationships in our lives is more harmful than most people realize. Good relationships keep us healthier and happier.

Devoting a chunk of your time to work, which can also include community service, activism, and side projects, is the third life domain.

You should give your all to these three areas of your life during the time you…



Nir Eyal
Writer for

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