Choose How You Spend Your Hours
Do you want more freedom at work? Did the pandemic awaken or heighten your need for freedom – freedom to choose how you spend your time? Considering that we only have one life to live and within it, there are limited numbers of hours. Some of us may have more and some fewer. Regardless, time is the most precious resource we have and how we use it to serve our life is the key to a well-lived life.
Freedom here is about choices. You have the freedom to choose how much time to dedicate and to whom. You can also choose exactly when and how to spend your hours and from where. Here are just a few ways to achieve your freedom.
Financial freedom (also called financial independence) begins when you have established enough net assets to pay for your living expenses for the rest of your life without having to work for money. It gives you the most freedom and flexibility when it comes to living on your own terms. You can work if you choose to, however, you no longer need to work for money. Many people have the limiting belief that it is impossible to achieve freedom from 9 to 5 until they are at retirement age and some people aren’t even sure of that.
On the contrary, in my direct and indirect experience, financial freedom is possible for anyone if you carefully and diligently plan and prioritize for it. ‘How’ may be a big question and like many things in life, you’ll find your own unique path and solution. The fast and quick answer lies within your spending. How you manage your money has a lot to do with how fast you may achieve financial freedom.
I thrived in my job for the longest time when it was fulfilling and inspiring and I quit when it stopped being so. At that time, I was in a privileged position of having already achieved my financial freedom so that I was able to make my own choices. Without this freedom, I would have had much fewer options. Circumstances change with our jobs and employment and ideally we want to be in a position to choose what aligns best with our values rather than being a prisoner to money.
Most people stay in their jobs even when it stops being fulfilling (and perhaps it never was) because of money. “I have no other choice because I need money for me and my family” is a common lament I often hear. With a bit of adjustment and planning, we may be able to get out of the trap relatively easily. My earnest suggestion is to stop ‘scapegoating your family’ and instead build the best possible life for you and your family. In fact, it’s very likely that your family needs more of you, the inspired and inspiring, fulfilled and content, full of life energy and loving to share with others.
Until you arrive at your financial freedom, there are other freedom options to pursue.
Work that allows for flexibility
Be your own boss
When you own your company, many choices are yours. My friend is a thriving photography business owner. Her life priority is very clear – her daughter. She plans her life and works accordingly. The level of flexibility she has is only second to having full financial freedom. I coach business owners and entrepreneurs and their primary motivation is the freedom to make their own choices with how they spend their time. They work hard, no doubt, but on their own terms and schedules.
In the Financial Independence (FI) world, you will also see a large segment of digital nomads. They are either solopreneurs or couple-preneurs whose work is digital and they can work from anywhere. This allows them to travel and live wherever they choose in the world as long as there’s fast and reliable internet service. Often living expenses can be reduced outside North America and Northern Europe, essentially giving the nomads attractive lifestyle choices while at the same time, saving costs. What a deal!
Of course, not every business can be successful right away and that is a sound argument. Business owners may need to work long hours to make ends meet and make sacrifices early on to establish themselves. That’s right: freedom is earned and it doesn’t come for free.
If you have a great solution to an existing problem for a clearly defined audience, you may consider starting out with your business idea as a side hustle (while keeping your day job) and then turning that into your main income source later on.
Consider this: how much do you need to support your modest living each month and save for the future? How many clients will you need in your chosen business in order to pay for the expenses? How many months will it take for your business to get to that level? Now, do you have savings that will cover the gap and more? If the answer is yes, you have a choice between the side hustle route mentioned above or going all out giving your new business the due energy and attention it requires. If the answer is no, for now, you may need to save up a cash reserve. Set a SMART goal and work towards it.
If you already own a business or are in the process of establishing one, remember that your business should support your life, not the other way around. If you have a crazy off-balance between your work and home, you may consider rebalancing your life. With good priority and time management, life-work balance is achievable.
Your employment that allows for maximum flexibility
The Pandemic expedited an already established trend towards flexibility. A lot of working folks realized how much time they saved by not commuting to an office somewhere downtown, spending energy on public transit, driving and parking, personal appearance whether clothing or make-up, etc. Instead, workers were able to use those extra hours on connecting with their families, doing home projects, gardening, baking, and other life-enriching activities. Considering that technology is now completely sufficient to support work-from-home arrangements and we have collectively proven that we can be just as effective, the movement has been quite dramatic. Around me alone, a lot of friends now work from home permanently, either a few days per week or even full time.
With that, you may now pursue an employer or a job where flexibility is available as long as you can show your results.
Your spending is the key to your freedom
Consider for a moment that you only need to spend $1,000 every month in total. Maybe you live in a low-cost environment i.e. with relatives/parents, countryside, and/or you are frugal and/or very self-sufficient with your homemaking skills. This would mean you only need $12,000 per year. Would you be able to earn $1,000/month without “selling out” while instead earning your freedom? Most likely your answer is yes. One grand per month is most likely not enough for many of us to support our lifestyles, but this example should indicate to us that the minute we recognize where the solution lies, we are empowered! We are empowered to choose life over stuff.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can earn good money, let’s say $80,000/year but your monthly spending is $10,000. Well, now you work for money. And if you allow this to persist, you may become “imprisoned” by your job, money, and worse, buying the latest ‘stuff’. Sure, it may give you instant gratification and temporary friendship but highly unlikely long-term fulfillment. Choose what matters in life.
If the above article resonates with you, please get in touch with me. Let’s have a chat and see if where you are currently at and how you may begin the journey to your own financial freedom.