Jump on Instagram for a minute, and you’ll likely cross a photo of someone living their best life. They travel whenever they want, live without a care in the world, and work new projects whenever inspiration strikes. And you might think, “Man, I just wish I had that much freedom.” You might think they have that freedom because they happened to win the lottery or have a great inheritance, and very rarely that is true. But for most people who are living their best life and making it look flawless, they have a secret that you can steal. Want to know what that secret is? They are planners. What?! They’re not just carelessly spontaneous? No, quite the opposite.
Most people who are able to live with such true freedom have planned it intentionally.
I know I just dropped a pretty big truth bomb on you, and you might be disappointed. You wanted a trick that takes no actual effort. Around here I like to say that you have to plan to be spontaneous. And as much as it seems like an oxymoron, it really works. Let me give you a few examples to show you how this works. Then you can try a few this week and see how much more freedom you feel.
Nat and I have some different ideas about what freedom looks like. For him it might be buying all the records he’d like and attending every concert he possibly can. For me, I like to be able to make lunch plans with a friend a new restaurant or even just be able to take a day to try new recipes. I really love cooking and trying new foods. When Nat and I weren’t great at planning, we’d just do what we wanted anyway and then act surprised when the back balance was low or the workload we had procrastinated on seemed insurmountable. But once we started to plan out our time and money better, we felt real freedom when we did the same things.
One incredible and often overlooked area of planning that can give you more freedom and less stress is budgeting. I know, I know. You’ve tried it before but just couldn’t stick to it. We’ve been there. It takes some discipline, sure, but there are also some great tools that can help you succeed. A few things we’ve found to be helpful have been using auto pay and scheduling to know where money is going and when, separate accounts for things like allowance and savings that ensure we’re only spending what’s available, budgeting apps like Mint to see progress on your budget on the go, and we’ve even tried a cash envelope system. My favorite tools that I use are a Google Sheet that I update weekly and my separate debit card just for allowance. I can go out to eat with friends and feel the freedom to go when that money is already planned for in my allowance.
The other area that can make or break your feeling of freedom is in managing your time. Just like money, you have to proactively plan where you want to spend your time otherwise you’ll just be missing it. Do you find yourself responding to everyone else’s needs and reacting to situations through the day? Maybe you’ve become a slave to check and reply to every notification ping of an email or social media post. If you’d rather be proactive and in charge of your day, turn off non-essential notifications, schedule times to check email and social posts. Set timers and limits on how much time you want to give to specific tasks or mindless ones (I used the app time limits on my phone so I don’t get sucked down a 2 hour You Tube rabbit hole). Most smartphones have a screen time tracker, or at least a battery usage tracker that might reveal how much time your phone really takes from your day. And if you find yourself shocked by the vast amount of hours wasted there each week, it’s time to make a plan.
We find that building morning routines and daily habits, along with blocking out parts of the day for various work and hobby activities gives us the most sense of time freedom, because all the things we want the freedom to do are planned into the day. Build routines, habits and daily schedules around the things you want to be free to do, and don’t feel bad about turning off notifications and living reactively to everyone else’s plans. You’ll be surprised at how much time you can find in the day to take back as your own, and if you want to do something spontaneous with those extra hours each day, you can do so freely.
So, that’s it, in a really small nutshell. If you want more freedom to live spontaneously, you got to plan for it. If you want even more detailed, step by step help on implementing this kind of discipline in your life, you’re going to want to jump in the Killer Creators program when it opens next. We walk you through the exact methods we use to make sure we’re living as freely as we like, so you can too. We’ve built our program specifically with creatives in mind. So, join our email list and make sure you don’t miss your chance to join us the next time we open the program up.