How much do you value freedom? I’m not referring to the constitutional freedoms that we enjoy in the United States (if you don’t know what they are click here). I’m speaking about the most important of all freedoms, that is, the freedom of time.
WHAT DOES FREEDOM OF TIME LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
I live 28 miles outside of New York City, in the tri-state area that covers parts of the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. This region is littered with people who work in Wall Street, banking and other financial markets. They are some of the most time-impoverished humans on earth.
I was shocked to learn that the average intern, analyst and associate in these professions averages a ninety-hour workweek. This can include weekends and consecutive all-nighters. This is more than double the national average.
There are many reasons why these worker bees keep ridiculous schedules. Some think that if they quantify their work by the number of hours they keep, they’re worthy of the position. They also fear losing their jobs knowing there are always candidates lined up to take their place. Money on Wall Street is very alluring.
Oftentimes the reason for long hours is that the workload is just too big. There are some who simply like spending time in the office. Personally, I think that’s a radical way of expressing interest in your work. Still, others could easily work less if they were better time managers. I venture to say that the reason for the long hours is that the system dumps all they can on the lowest ranked so they can weed out the weak from the strong.
After a horrendously long week at work, many spend their weekends catching up on sleep. The few free hours they have left are spent taking care of laundry, shopping or personal care, leaving very little time for friends and family. Is this how you’d live for the sake of money?
Everybody has a different idea of time. What may seem like a lot to one is not to another. Someone who is used to a 9 – 5 Monday to Friday schedule may feel overtaxed if they’re asked to work a couple of extra hours during the week.
It leads me to the conclusion that how much time you put into your work week depends on how much you love what you’re doing. I’m just not convinced that everybody on Wall Street loves what he or she does.
HOW WOULD YOU SPEND YOUR DAYS?
For me freedom of time means doing what I want when I want. It means taking off at a moment’s notice to travel just for fun. It means spending the day at the beach getting new ideas for my next video. It means watching the waves roll in and out for hours on end. It means going out to dinner as often as I want. It means not having any deadlines. It means starting my work at 2 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon. It means taking the day off to shop for a new car, new house or new furniture. It means spending a month abroad, or maybe six months abroad. It means planning my next vacation. Time freedom is working on my new book, building my business, and having coffee with friends.
What kind of lifestyle do you want? How much free time do you want? How much do you value your freedom? Do any of these ways of spending free time appeal to you?
The greatest therapy in life is to focus on serving others. When we put others first before our needs, our troubles seem to go away. Volunteering is also a great opportunity to make new friends and learn new skills. Find something that impassions you and look for ways to volunteer in those areas.
Exercising balances your body and brain. Building muscle, releasing endorphins, burning calories and sweating are excellent ways to maintain good health. Cleaning up your diet by eating more greens and lowering your intake of processed foods and sugars is an essential part of keeping fit. Remember to drink plenty of water.
Spend time with other people outside of work. Variety makes life more fun. Develop new personal contacts. With today’s all too easy connectivity and gadgets, remember how important face-to-face contact is for the nourishing of your soul.
Take the time to work on you personal development by attending workshops, forums or online training. Challenge yourself, sign up for an evening or weekend course and learn a new discipline. There are numerous free courses available on line or local schools. Listen to audio or follow great mentors on Youtube.
Why is it that some of the busiest people find the time to read? It’s because they make reading a priority. They understand that knowledge means power and they invest in mind expansion. Read great books that will help you develop your sense of self worth and teach you new perspectives. If non-fiction is your preference, that’s a great way to relax.
It’s important to develop skills in other areas outside of work. Hobbies are great stress relievers besides being fun. Consider taking up again something you used to love to do when you were in school. When was the last time you went to the movies or brushed up on your creative skills?
Friends and family
The most important way that you can spend your free time is with your friends and family. While your life goes off in different directions, like the branches of a tree, they are the tree trunk in your life. They offer stability, support and love. Without them, there’s very little meaning in anything else that you do.
While you may not be a Wall Street executive, you may be equally time pressed. It’s important to use your time wisely. Pursue ways of increasing your energy, creativity and enthusiasm. They will give you a sense of fulfillment. Using your free time wisely will also give you a sense of balance. Life is not just about work. That is what we do, not who we are.
How much do you value your freedom? That’s something that only you can define.
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