Own Your Time- Don't Manage It: 5 Tips on Shifting Your Mindset and Living Happily Ever After with Time Freedom
Time freedom means the ability to own 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. For me, owning your time and having time freedom is the ultimate in professional freedom. But it takes a mindset shift away from the limiting beliefs of 9-5 life and the importance place on time management.
This page is a #NoGuiltZone – we all deserve to enjoy every moment, or realistically, as many as we can. It's why my layoff was a blessing.
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And: it is what the Free At 50 blog and my journey into professional freedom is all about. I hear what you're thinking: this requires most of us to really shift our mindset.
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 without leaving corporate life. #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. This my friends is professional freedom.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
5 tips to get on the path of owning your own time:
1 Write stuff down in 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.
Photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash
2 Set boundaries and stick to them- lightly.
I 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).
Update July 2021: I've gotten this blog onto Groove, an all-in-one platform and will be switching to their calendar platform as soon as it's available- no cost to me now as part of my overall purchase.
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.
3 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 preferred technology for notes: 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! With Evernote, it's easy to find what I need quickly and not worry so much of where I filed something.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Investing in technology is vital for professional freedom.
My latest approach is using Groove to consolidate my online life. Calendar booking for my business will be on here, replacing Calendly for me, and I also have videos, create landing pages and will be using it for email automation.
This just names a few things I plan to use, but here is the full list of options and the comparison between the free and platinum levels.
Having everything in one platform limits so many things for me and helps me own my time:
- renewal dates
- fees and invoices
Photo by Chris Briggs on Unsplash
4 Throw “time management” as a notion out the window.
Time management is a concept that is learned.
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 through professional 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.
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
Roadblocks to owning your time is simply a matter of mindset.
Let's break it down.
There will be roadblocks but depending on what your level of commitment to this lifestyle of professional freedom is (and on what level of freedom you seek), those can be addressed as well. It's a matter of shifting your mindset.
Take a couple examples I’ve heard:
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.
Photo by EVGENIY KONEV on Unsplash
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 of professional freedom.
To own my time and earn 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. And why my layoff was a blessing.
Not so much of a mindset shift for me. As both an employee and a supervisor, I've always believed in (and preached) family first. With professional freedom, it's more attainable.
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