If You Want to Be Free, You Need More Rules

Itxy Lopez

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You wish you had more free time. You want mornings to yourself. You’d love to catch up on your shows, hang out with your kids, and read for more than half an hour every day.

But you don’t know how to work less. You’re busy, and your to-do list is packed with items. You end up working from morning til’ night, and it gets you angry when you look up and the sun has set. You’re tired of feeling overwhelmed.

What if I told you I had a solution? A way for you to work hard and relax? It’s going to sound a bit strange, but if you want to be free, you need more rules.

Do You Need to Work For 15 Hours Every Day?

Lots of successful people suggest that you work twelve to fifteen hours every day. Since they’re prosperous, people follow that advice blindly. If that’s how they want to live, that’s okay.

You’re reading this because you don’t want that. You love what you do, but if you worked for more than eight hours every day, you’d lose your fucking mind. You don’t want to lose decades of your life to work.

While I was writing this piece, I thought, “Who am I to give this advice when I’m not ‘successful’ yet?” But that’s not the point. This isn’t about success. This is about the journey — the most important part.

You’re not supposed to live your life according to what others tell you. You decide how you’ll live your life and chase your dreams.

You’re free to work five hours every day including weekends. You’re free to work seven-hour days Monday through Friday and take weekends off. You have to make the choice best for you.

Before we get to the meat of this piece, it’s important to figure out what you’d like your workday to look like. For example, I work every day, but I’m lax on the weekends. If an event pops up, and I feel like attending, I will. I also don’t work after eight at night. The hours before bed are my time.

The Key to More Freedom and Time

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2qHgYr_0XwxBBYR00Photo by Florian Berger on Unsplash

The reason I’m able to take nights off is that I work my butt off in the morning and throughout the day. The key to having more freedom is to set rules.

Most people don’t have any rules for their work. They just do it, and then take breaks when they feel like it (even if those breaks go on for longer than they’re supposed to). Humans suck at having too much freedom because they don’t know what to do with it.

You can’t be careless when you work from home. Then you wouldn’t get any work done, and fail to reach your goals. This is why you have to find ways to focus on your work.

It’s not only about avoiding distractions but setting up rules and putting habits into place. They’ll help you ensure that you’re sticking to work when you’re supposed to be working.

Here’s why you want to do this: If you can wholly focus on your work, then you can complete it in five to seven hours — it depends on the amount of work you have to finish.

The point is to be so strict with yourself that you’re able to finish your work in less time. You can say goodbye to working all day long and missing family dinners — all because of self-discipline.

While I’m less productive on weekends and take nights off, I still work a lot. Here are some things I manage to get done while earning time off.

  • I publish on this platform at least five times a week
  • I’m working on my first fiction book
  • I write and edit every day
  • I run a Facebook group of 600+ members

I’m also caught up on all my shows and read a fiction book a week. I’m living proof that you can kick ass, work hard, and still have a life.

How to Work Hard (and Still Have Time Off)

1. Establish your work hours

Your working hours are guides for when you start and finish. When you create work hours, it helps you get into the mindset of work — just as arriving at an office would.

My hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m, Monday through Friday. Obviously, I don’t work non-stop, but I know that at eight a.m. it’s time to get down to business, and at eight at night, I don’t touch my laptop anymore.

Don’t worry about breaks or when you’ll have lunch right now. Figure out when you’ll start working and when you’ll stop. Yours could be from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m or 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Whatever works best for you.

2. What are your priorities?

Every working person needs to know what their priorities are. You shouldn’t have more than three every day — and, typically, they should remain the same.

Your priorities consist of the most important steps you need to take to reach your goals. Mine are:

  1. Writing articles
  2. Editing and publishing
  3. Writing my book

You want to know your priorities because it helps you get clear on what’s important and what’s busywork. Busywork won’t take you closer to your goals. Now, you’re going to create rules around your priorities.

How to Create Rules You Follow

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3JfW3K_0XwxBBYR00Photo by Windows on Unsplash

Since you know what your priorities are and what time you’re going to work, you have to start establishing rules. You create your rules according to your own lifestyle and schedule.

I advise always starting with your priorities. Busywork seems more attractive because it’s easy, but you’ll regret it near the end of your workday.

Rules about work

Remember my priorities? These are the rules I’ve set in place to make sure I get through them as soon as possible:

  1. Write at least 200 words of my book every day
  2. Write one article before 1:30
  3. Edit and (usually) publish one article

How can you set rules around your own life? Your rules could be:

  1. Record a YouTube video after breakfast
  2. Edit yesterday’s video at 12:30 p.m. every day
  3. Go live on Instagram every Friday

You can have as many or as little as you want, but they need to fit your life. Don’t set rules you’d like to eventually follow. This isn’t about figuring out what your ideal life is — it’s about setting rules that work for you right now.

Rules about distraction

You need to set rules around distractions so that you allow yourself to focus on your work to “get off” on time. Here are a couple of rules I’ve set for myself:

  1. Don’t check your phone before ten a.m.
  2. Don’t exceed forty-five minutes of social media every day
  3. Don’t watch movies or shows before eight p.m.
  4. Read when you take breaks

Wherever you find you struggle with distraction is where you need to set rules. What will motivate you not to break these rules is knowing that the more you focus, the faster you can get to free time.

Create habits

Alongside rules, you can also set daily habits. During the weekend, those rules of finishing my priorities before 1:30 goes out the window. However, I have to write at least 200 words of my book every day no matter what.

What habits do you want to put into place? It might be to go out and take pictures every day for an hour. If you’re an artist, you might want to paint for two hours every day at six.

Once you figure that out, find a way to track your habits. Tracking your habits is the best way to ensure you keep up with them.

Here’s a pro tip: Don’t get a habit-tracker app. Buy something like a calendar or habit-tracking worksheets, of which they sell plenty online, and pin it somewhere you’ll see it every day.

Final Words

Over and over again I see prolific people talk about how they regret the time they didn’t spend with people they loved. They were so focused on their goals they didn’t notice the strain in their relationships.

I didn’t want to turn out like that, and since you read this entire piece, I’m assuming you don’t either. Now you know how to avoid that.

You don’t need rules for everything. I have strict rules until 1:30, but after, as long as I finish my work before eight, I’ve succeeded.

Discipline equals freedom. It won’t be easy to stick to your rules, especially in the beginning, but it’s worth the work.

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