Business Productivity

Is too much freedom killing your dreams?

- July 20, 2015 2 MIN READ

Ok soloists – it’s time to design your own prison.

Why? Because it’s highly likely all this freedom you have right now is holding you back from achieving your ultimate life and business goals.

Like you, I enjoy having the unfettered ability to choose my direction and destination in life. But once those things are determined, it’s time to put myself in lockdown for a while; in a place where I’m forced to give up expendable freedoms to earn my more valuable freedoms.

So let’s build your ‘prison’:

Step 1. Determine which freedoms you value most

Freedom comes in many forms, so first you need to be really clear about what you want from life.

You may wish to retire at 45, travel for two months every year, work one day per week, or simply knock off work at 3pm every day while still being able to pay the bills. You might want the financial freedom to buy a house on every continent. You might like to be able to have a good sleep in whenever you wish. Other people value creative freedom in their work, or the freedom of being location independent.

Step 2. Decide which freedoms you’re willing to trade

It’s clear from the examples above that you can’t have them all. Once you realise this you’re then able to trade off the things you don’t value as much as others.

To finish at 3pm are you willing to earn a little less? Or start work earlier? Are you willing to work more hours to be financially free? Will you give up your weekends to have a bigger impact with your charity?

If it’s a four-hour work week you’re chasing, then it’s likely you’ll won’t be able to retire as early. A round of golf each day might clash with your goal of funding 10 schools in Guatemala.

Decide what freedoms you don’t need, and trade these away for the things that matter most to you.

Step 3. Build your prison

As an employee I dreamt of flexible hours, low stress, creativity, choosing my own path, and working from home (or the beach). But as a business owner, as much as I enjoy the daily freedom in my schedule, I can see how it has the power to keep me from my goals. There are a lot of opportunities for laziness and lack of focus to creep in.

I have ambitions that will take work and daily progress, and the goals at stake are more valuable to me than casual lunches.

So maybe each day in my new (voluntary) prison would start with a lockdown from 8am to 10am for a non-negotiable marketing blitz in solitary confinement, followed by an hour in the exercise yard.

What’s your ideal prison?

If a relaxed daily routine really does nourish you and propel you towards your goals and your best self, then great. But if you’re struggling to make your business goals a reality, it might be time to remove some of your daily freedoms.

Maybe the answer is to make at least part of your day (or week) non- negotiable, and even a little prison-like. But you need to lock yourself in because when you’re your own boss, nobody else will…

If you were forced to do one thing for your business every day, what would you want it to be?