The ultimate liberation: owning your time. Whether it is about going on a weekend hike on a trail without cell service, taking half a day to shop and prepare a new recipe with your significant other, or binging Netflix with the family, there should be no guilt and complete, focused happiness. This page is a #NoGuiltZone – we all deserve to enjoy every moment, or realistically, as many as we can.
I know this is hard to do with a traditional working-for-others “job.” Blessedly I am (and hope to stay) away from that situation. Timothy Ferriss has suggestions for those of you out there in a “job”- and I personally know at least one person actively pursuing Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek suggestions to own his time. #Bravo.
Either way, self-employed or not, there are ways to be sure your time is yours to define. Ultimately, if you (or me) are pursuing income, that means time needs to be dedicated to that pursuit. The idea is to gain the freedom of how much and when.
Five tips to get on the path of owning your own time:
- Write stuff down- yes, on a calendar. I keep my Google calendar (easily accessed on my iPhone) but I also use an actual book I write things into. That works for me. Use whatever works best for you: whiteboards, desk calendars, At-A-Glance (which I used for many years) or whatever. Just write stuff down. Calendars.com has so many incredible options. Snag free shipping using this link to find one that works for you: Free Shipping on $15 with code FREESHIP15 . And obviously, set alerts on your phone as needed.
- Set boundaries and stick to them- lightly. I recently set up a Calendly account. I’m still in the newbie phase but I am loving how I can set up a way of getting people on the calendar that works for me (I threw down $96 for a premium account). If someone comes back saying they can’t fit into my calendar, I am willing to go beyond it as of now. But we shall see. I am open to having a balance of setting boundaries (IE I am not making myself available in the evenings) and doing what’s best for everyone to ensure I am doing my best in supporting people.
- Use technology- but don’t overuse it. I’ve always been told to keep a pen and paper next to the bed. Something hotels always used to have for you on the nightstand, but with cell phones and tablets, you see less of that now. My preference: Evernote. If you’re not familiar, click here to check it out. One mistake I easily fall into: too many options, spreading myself, and my notes, reminders, and ideas thin. Don’t fall into that trap! My latest approach is using GrooveFunnels to consolidate my online life. Calendar booking for my business will be on here, where I will also have webpages, videos etc.
- Throw “time management” out the window. I remember attending a presentation on time management and the take-away was that we all have the same 24 hours in the day, it’s all about how we use them. I agree 100%. BUT to hit the pinnacle of freedom- toss out the notion that your days must be so structured (unless that truly makes you happy) and work on being goal-oriented. It can be done. For example, we all have bills to pay with a due date. (Each bill payment is an individual task.) What if we decided to pay all bills once a month? The task of each bill payment now become a goal of getting all bills paid by the 10th, now you have one task instead of many. Meaning you can look at your schedule and put into your calendar when you’ll pay all the bills. The day you pay them one month, set up next month’s calendar item.
- Delegate. And do it with everything you can. Give up the notion that you need to do it all yourself. I was in a job that had me traveling A LOT. So while I kept my place tidy, I hired out the deep-cleaning. Whatever it is, personal or professional, that is not the best use of your time, or will enrich your life to hire-out, delegate it. #NoGuiltZone
There will be roadblocks to attaining ownership of your time. But depending on what your level of commitment to this lifestyle of freedom is (and on what level of freedom you seek), those can be addressed as well. Take a couple examples I’ve heard:
Kids – but they have school right? Yes. So you need to put key times and tasks into your calendar- do it. Or look at options to own their time as well. It might sound extreme, but home-schooling is an option. I have talked to one friend who wants more travel in her family life and has thought about making a move to home-schooling to enrich her kids’ education through life experiences. If you’ve read the 4-Hour Workweek, you know about this idea already.
Parents – as a GenXer, I get it, many of us are, have, or will be caregivers and/or support for aging parents. Family first. I truly believe that. And, honestly, it’s another reason I’ve latched onto the 4-Hour lifestyle idea. By owning my time and earning income on my terms and schedule, I can pick up and leave, or drop everything, if God forbid, I need to run to southern Cal to be with my parents. In my last corporate job that wouldn’t have been possible, at least not for any extended time where I can focus 100% on them.
Roadblocks are perceived. In reality, every “problem” has a solution- or at the very least a workaround. I always said if you cannot move through something, find your way under, over or around it. #NoGuiltANDNoExcuses