It's hard to find a productivity 'expert' (I'm skeptical such expertise exists, but surely some people are more productive than others) that doesn't recommend having a schedule or tracking how you spend your time. And it's hard to find someone who thinks the best diet doesn't involve any planning, tracking, restraint, or guidelines. "Do things on purpose" seems like generally good advice. Even if you'd like to be more unstructured, you can pull a Micheal Scott and just schedule "free play".

I truly don't know anything about eating disorders – I know my own eating was unstructured for a long time, and benefits from structure – and my point isn't to pathologize anything, or even address the biggest, most substantial concerns people have. My only thought is: precisely what kind of mental health benefits accrue from structuring your inputs? Are they on the same scale as the health benefits to structured eating?

I suspect they're much larger. People substantially underrate the benefits of having a day-planner over a to-do list. These seem virtually identical, but I'd like to use this space to emphatically state they are not. So let's do that:

Time tracking or use of a day planner is dramatically better than using a To-Do list.

Very official. But the difference is even more acute than structured-unstructured eating because they both strike the same problem – that the best person to make decisions for you isn't always now-you – but that problem is much worse for use of time. Food is (unless you enjoy snacking way more than I do) fundamentally episodic. You prepare a meal, eat it, clean up, and you're good until next time. But the use of time is linear and continuous. There's always something waiting to entice you just out of the frame of your schedule's current block. And yet we know breaking those rules, as tempting as it can be, is destructive to both tasks. The example I have in mind is the temptation to work while you're supposed to be relaxing or with friends or family – the judgment of that is almost beneath the dignity of words.