At first glance “discipline” and “freedom” seem to be opposites, like they shouldn’t go together. How can we be truly free yet discipline at the same time? Freedom to me is having ample time to do the things that I enjoy (doing what I want to do). In order to make the time for this freedom we must avoid spending too much time on the things we feel we have to do leaving no time for that freedom we desire. This is where discipline comes in. It starts with prioritizing our lives to better manage our time and creating habits around the lifestyle we want to have. Listed below are a few habits & tips to help earn that extra time.
Prioritize your life – Be honest with yourself and seek to find out what is truly important to you. Find out what you spend most of your time on and see if it aligns with what is important to you. Eliminate the things you chose to do that do not bring fulfilment (excessive time on social media or watching TV). What things do you do that are important to other people but not necessarily yourself? Rid your life of these seemingly urgent but ultimately unimportant things. We all have things that need to be done (work to pay the bills and take care of family) but once our necessities are covered we can manage and play with the rest of our time however we please.
Wake up early – If you plan accordingly, go to bed earlier and wake up earlier you can get more done with each day. Getting the most important things for each day done first can free up time later in the day. You can also use this time for doing the things you want to do such as exercise, reading, writing, meditating, etc. (the night owls can flip this & use the late night hours to do the same thing.
Limit distractions – Turn off unimportant notifications for social media, personal e-mail, etc. Block out sections of your day where you have no external input so you can focus and get the important things done. We must limit our input to increase our output & aim to be more efficient at the task at hand. This will allow you to get things done in less time freeing up more time for yourself.
Tip: Combine the habits above. The morning time is great for limiting distractions (if you get up before everyone else in your house) since you have already been sleeping for several hours with no input. Keep this going by staying unplugged for the first part of your day (no phone, computer, e-mail, etc.) and take the time for yourself or to focus on your highest priority task for the day.
There are many more habits and tips out there, finding the right ones that work for your life is the key. Stack the conditions in your favor by creating multiple habits to bring the life you desire. If your occupation is your vocation (your calling) where you do something you enjoy for a living (such as personal training) then you have already taken some of this freedom back.
Creating habits takes discipline but consistently doing them will bring more time & freedom to your life. Greek philosopher Aristotle was wise to this almost 2,400 years ago “Through discipline comes freedom”. I heard of this concept through the Tim Ferriss podcast with Jocko Willink where he stated “Discipline equals freedom”. It’s a great listen worth checking out. Please share any habits or tips that you employ in your life in the comments section below.