How Freedom Can be Bad for You

I have known early that freedom are among my highly regarded values. It pulled me out of smoking. Plus, the grandeur nature of Freedom Project; led me to be an early riser.

My version of freedom meant the flexibility to be doing anything, anytime, anywhere, and anyway I want. So, when my wife and daughter are away for their yearly solo retreat, I got a taste of how freedom would be as I was also having an extended day off at home. So, I’m not having the need to squeeze my time around looking after my daughter and there’s no work obligation as well for about 8 days.

As usual, my productive driven self is already contemplating the Q2s (heavy lifts items that are not urgent but super important) which I should be doing ferociously;

  • Analyze 2014 spending habits and formed an improved finance blueprint for 2015
  • Prepare my 2015 journal, taking in excerpts and implementing categorization that works from past years
  • Planning the itinerary details of Johor Bahru and Australia trips
  • Finish off reading my last book for 2014, Jeremy Clarkson’s How Hard Can It Be
  • Writing few pieces for this blog, Toastmaster’s assignment and other speaking engagements.
  • Figuring out how to finally trigger that Renko Chart on my MT4
  • Planning overall 2015 movement

The list goes on and on. You’d get the idea, those are the items which I have said to myself ‘I wish I had the time to do all this!’. But it never get done because it requires time and time is not really your luxury when you are working as a Project Engineer looking after a daughter (all the time!) and wanting to be in the best shape by working out 5 times a week and running in the morning every day.

Did I just list down all my excuses?


So 3 days into the supposedly effervescent me, ferociously ticking off my to-do list, I am resentfully need to report that I’m doing nothing. I found myself in disarray; lounging all day long and couldn’t pick myself anywhere near to the ferocity that I would imagine in my head.

I ended up unconsciously looking for errands to do, putting in some excuses to not doing the Most Important Things and spending the time unnecessarily in front of TV looking for any Liverpool match that I missed on Boxing Day.

Only to find out Lazar Markovic is so disappointing against lowly Burnley and cringed the fact that Rodgers spent 20M pound for him (this is in early January – I know he’s doing OK now).

This simple yet profound reflection led me to discover something important.

So what happened when you had that freedom?

1. As in my case, I’d be wasting my time doing unproductive things. Perhaps my body and mind don’t really get used to not having to move most of the time and thinking the next thing to do, figuring out next problems/challenges to solve and attending the next meeting (pun intended). It turns out, utilizing the freedom that is given to us is hard, unless we’re equipped with great habits. As my experience shows, when constraints removed, I saw a drop on my productivity.

2. Between the swift anxiety that arise when I look for things to do, classic Priority Dilution and Creative Avoidance; hand in hand shoot me down. I began doing chores that in its own right can be a justified action, but on a bigger picture those are not the Q2 items but rather flimsy unimportant Q3 (not important but urgent) items. Example: washing your car and doing the laundry. Not that doing those are bad, but I know I supposed to be doing a piece of writing, but I resist it so much that my body redirect me into doing the laundry. Why? Because it’s easier and by the way that’s creative avoidance.

What Can I Do?

So when I am aware of the situation, realizing the fact that I’m idling, thank God that I had a great structure around habits that I already fixed coming into the 8 Freedom Days. These key habits prevented me from derailing further into rabbit hole. These are stuffs which I can’ live without – meditation, running in the morning, reading, duolingo, and journaling. They gave a sense of anchor on my day and despite the gloom outlook that I won’t be emerging the 8 Freedom days victorious, I was glad I see the issues now rather than later. I believe having a schedule would resolve this.

Anyway, the 8 Freedom Days went bad were not really bad – in retrospect. The one thing to show for it is the fact that you are now reading! That must be the most productive thing I have done in months.

For those coming from my previous site, thank you.

Time to get out of the rut and get intentional.

Leave a Reply