Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Freedom Trap

Entrepreneurs relish the romantic notion of having no boundaries, no obligations, no expectations, no responsibilities, no schedule to keep, no time constraints, no place to be, no one to answer to and no one breathing down their neck.

That’s why we hired ourselves in the first place. So we could do whatever we want.

The flip side is, too much freedom is a dangerous thing.

First, it means too many choices, so indecision paralyzes us. And we end up producing less because we’re pulled in too many directions.

Second, it means too much flexibility, so it’s easier to procrastinate and harder to motivate. And we get bored because work expands to fill the time given to complete it.

Third, it means too much time, so we feel unfulfilled. And depression kicks in because having nothing to constantly work on destroys our mood.

Fourth, it means too much reflection, so we default to negative thinking. And the tendency to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves is hard to ignore.

Fifth, it means too much space, so we lack direction and purpose in our work. And we end up sitting in a coffee shop in the middle of the day wondering what we should do next.

Sixth, it means too much complacency, so we don’t stay hungry. And our work ethic declines because there’s nobody to notice if we don’t execute.

Seventh, it means too much time in our own heads, so we lose perspective. And we end up standing on a whale, fishing for minnows, because we’re too close to ourselves.

Alan Fletcher once said the first move in any creative process is to introduce constraints.

Maybe we don’t need as much freedom as we thought.

How can you get more done in more time?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

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