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#25 TIME FREEDOM: The Secret to a Happy Life

Do you own your time? If you are average, probably not. Even if you become an entrepreneur, you must be careful not to continue to exchange your time for money. In fact, time management is a huge topic that is much more important than most people realize.

In today's episode, we will talk about how to build time in for your self-care and personal development but more importantly, how you can integrate your work into a life of freedom.

Build the life you want. Don't trade anything for your freedom.

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We are raised from birth not to have much say over how we spend our days. From scheduled mealtimes and sleep to play dates, our parents learned that routine is key to raising children. Then we head to school and a loud, shrill bell controls most of our day, warning us when we need to rush from class to class, go to recess, come back from recess, and finally get to go home. To make matters worse, we are screamed at, scolded, and sometimes punished around time. “Come over here.” “Get in the car.” “Hurry or else we will arrive late.” “I’m counting to five.” or as my grandmother used to say “Quit dawdling.” This sounds sadly familiar if you hang around enough families or remember it from your own childhood.

Being raised this way with little to no autonomy conditions us to be followers. We are used to being slaves to the clock. We become like sheep. So were our parents and our parent's parents. It’s a vicious cycle. And over time, the demands just got worse and worse until we became stretched very thin. Overwhelm, burnout, and mental and physical health issues ensued. Time control is so ingrained in our lives that we don’t even realize it.

HAMSTER ON A WHEEL

The way it works as an adult may look something like this:

Your entire day, week, year, life, give or take an hour or two, is out of your control. You are victim to the demands of those around you, those counting on you, and hardly have a moment to yourself or for yourself. You check your calendar, email, boss, and spouse to know what you need to do next. There is no point in thinking since your entire life is organized for you by others.

THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN AND PEOPLE ARE REALIZING IT

Except something has now (finally) changed everything.

With the technology revolution, we have become mobile. Fast and cheap computers, affordable high-speed Internet, smartphones, and software enable us to work anytime from anywhere. It has opened up a brand-new world and started a new era of the digital nomad. You no longer need to limit yourself to local job candidates — you can hire people across the world, and it is as simple as sending a few emails. Globalization is real and here to stay.

Then COVID-19 happened and work was further disrupted. Employees were forced to work from home. Everyone scrambled to figure it out and make it work under less-than-ideal circumstances. But it did work. While some employees dreamed of returning to the office, others started to enjoy remote work. Many companies announced updated work from home policies that enable employees to choose flexible schedules. Other companies tried to reinforce a stricter back-to-office policy and tensions arose. One thing is certain: in the post-COVID work culture, remote work is now a permanent factor.

Lastly, the importance of the Internet has created so many new business opportunities that previously didn’t exist. Today, anyone with a computer and Wi-Fi can start an online business in a matter of hours with little to no startup capital. It is a revolution.

TIME FOR A CHANGE

Are you going to continue to work the old way, letting others’ rule your every waking hour, or will you free yourself by taking advantage of these three factors?

THE NEW WAY OF WORKING

Let’s look at an example of how your daily routine could be:

In a recent episode of my podcast, Take Back Mondays, I talk about my work time freedom philosophy and especially the importance of making time for self-care and personal development. It is so false to think sitting at a desk for 12 hours per day will get you results. The truth is that we aren’t designed to sit for longer periods of time. Our bodies need movement. How can one come up with creative ideas? Leave the office and go outside to think!

We have quite a messed-up work culture, but I am optimistic that it is changing. People want out. It’s not the work itself usually the problem. It is all the surrounding crap: unnecessary meetings, sitting in front of a computer for too many hours, and company culture that seems to encourage people to stay in the office as long as possible. Parents especially crave flexibility and just can’t work in such an environment.

Conclusion

You can take back ownership of your time. It will require re-conditioning yourself from your old ways of thinking based on your education and employee days. But once you commit to designing your life and craft your perfect day, anything is possible. We only live once so let’s make every day count. After all, life really is short. How are you going to choose to live it?

FURTHER RESOURCES TO HELP

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