Have you ever heard of the Paradox Of Freedom? If not, let me tell you what that means.
For many of us that are entrepreneurs, work for ourselves, have management positions at work or lead teams, provide a service to clients hourly or even for those that work around setting their own times and shifts you may experience this paradox of freedom.
“The Paradox of freedom Is being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want – because you can…” This so-called freedom can actually lead to shotgun – scattered approach to your days and exacerbates your stress and anxiety. It can put you in a prison, and the only way out is to adopt the paradox of structure so that you can finally focus on what matters. like spending time with your kids, you’re family your loved ones, or giving back to those in need.
Sometimes not having to someone to report to or answer to leaves you not making the time or taking the time to plan our your days, your months or even to reflect on where you are in life with your career, passions or daily activities because of your so-called freedom or “paradox of freedom”
We all, myself included, spend time on things that are not in alignment with the person we want to be and those activities should be the first to be removed from our schedules. I see this many times with members of ours who have high-status careers, CEOs of major companies, and those who have earned years of seniority in a company, job or profession.
Waking up, hitting snooze, checking your emails, Instagram Facebook, watching the news or doing things, giving in or saying yes to distractions in your daily focus.
If you ever experience this type of confusion, loss of daily vision or inability to stick to what matters in your day, your week or your life try to incorporate these 3 easy strategies Ive adopted in my life from mentors of mine and see if they help you or give you some structure.
“Setting boundaries and instituting a filtering system empowers you to say no to activities that hinder your progress towards achieving your goals”. Having a daily plan facilitates your alignment and structure and provides you with a straight line to success. (Craig Ballantyne)
Setting boundaries also gives you permission to say “NO” to things that don’t matter at work and at home and it all starts the night before:
1- BRAIN DUMP: Each night spend 10 min before going to bed to get everything out of your head and jot down all the activities, thoughts, ideas, or things you did that day and what’s needed for you to do the following day. Jot down what tomorrow will look like, morning calls, appts, lunch, travel time, projects etc. Getting everything out of your head and onto paper will automatically relieve some of tomorrow’s stress & anxiety because it reduces the clutter and fog in your head. Leave a tiny notepad by your bed so you can jot down last-minute ideas, to-do items or reminders you may have. Trust me it will save you time, energy, and allow you to rest your mind peacefully.
2- PRIORITIZE: Number everything from your brain dump from most to least important. Identify most crucial item on your list and add #1, then #2 … This prioritized list helps putting all the jigsaw parts from your brain dump in order for more structure and allows you to not feel overwhelmed the moment your eyes awake and you roll out of bed. Remember anxiety kicks in for most people every morning and just before they go to bed. By waking up and having a partial list of items in order, while you sleep your subconscious mind will work with you to help you determine whats most important and any other items needed to get the job/task done.
3-PROCESS PLANNING: You’re probably already doing some kind of planning or using a to-do list to keep yourself in line and organized. This 3rd step called process planning is doing something small the night before to make tomorrow’s task(s) easier. It’s like giving yourself a jump start or fairlead in the race. For example, if you want to work out and feel you don’t have the motivation or may skip your workout leave your gym gear and shoes by the front door so you have to pick them up before leaving for work. If you want to write that book or create that PowerPoint slide for a meeting, open a blank slide the night before and type out 4-5 words or even the title to each chapter in the book so your not staring at a blank screen or sheet of paper in the morning when you wake up and try to attack that goal or presentation.
In order to stay on task and not be tied by the handcuffs of our own paradox of freedom we need to say “NO” to things, people, tasks, opportunities, meetings, or situations that may take us away from our daily goals, mission or routines. Sometimes saying “NO” can be empowering and help you be a happier more productive version of you.