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5 Unconventional Ways To Live Life More Freely

5 Unconventional Ways To Live Life More Freely

Does the concept of doing the same thing, in the same cubicle, next to the same people for X amount of years until you retire or get fired terrify you? Then perhaps you should consider the five unconventional options below!

1. Start Your Own Business

Even while keeping the realities of starting your own business in mind, it’s hard to deny that it does allow you some extra freedom compared to a traditional career trajectory. There’s freedom to work with something you don’t have the experience to get a job doing. And the freedom to fail miserably again and again, without worrying about getting fired. You only have to worry about failing some more until you find what works. Then there’s the freedom to stop doing meaningless things that just don’t have any real purpose.

And while you might still be working the same horrible hours (or worse), at least it’s your own choice now, dammit!

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2. Volunteer on Your Own Terms

Instead of being forced into an internship, volunteer on your own terms. Choose a country you’ve always wanted to visit, or a cause you’ve always wanted to contribute to, and dedicate your time, and yourself, to helping others. For a few months, a year, or forever.

WWOOFing is getting more and more common, and is probably the easiest way to choose a location you’re specifically interested in visiting and still having the free time to explore and enjoy it. If you’re more interested in making a difference to a certain place or for a certain group of people, feel free to pursue other avenues. Some options are very much ill suited for the person who just wants some free travel. And if you end up going with that mentality, you’re likely to make a lot of enemies and probably enjoy yourself a lot less than you thought you would.

3. Take Odd Jobs and Live as a Nomad

Some people spit in the face of the ideas of “being responsible,” “settling down,” and “job security.” They choose travel first, and take temporary odd jobs to finance their travels. If they’re down to their last few dollars (or cents depending on the country) they might stay for a while, but only long enough to finance the next part of their endless journey.

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You can become one of these modern day nomads quite easily, but what follows is in all likelihood not going to be easy. On the other hand, trying to debate whether or not this is a real option for you from the outside looking in is probably not going to yield any real answer, so going for it might be the best decision if you’re tempted.

4. Choose an Unconventional Career

I remember thinking to myself when I was a kid that I wanted to be a writer. Not because of any need for fame, or that I felt like I was some sort of unprecedented literary genius (okay maybe a little bit of the latter), but the idea of being able to work from anywhere in the world appealed to me. A lot. And it still does.

In this day and age, while going into journalism or writing might seem like a bad decision (although it doesn’t have to be), there are plenty of new options for people who want more control over their daily lives. Freelance designers, developers, programmers, consultants, cinematographers — the list goes on.

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And then you have people who make a living doing exactly what they want to do. People who build an audience on YouTube, for example, can make money doing virtually anything, as long as they capture it on video or whatever format they use. If you can entertain people, there have never been more ways for you to make money from that ability. So go out there and make a name for yourself if you can.

5. Telecommute

If you’re not interested in going out on your own, volunteering, living as a modern nomad or suffering the stress that often comes with freelancing, telecommuting just might be your best choice.

Even standard office jobs are starting to become available for telecommuting these days. While this way you’re most likely still forced to go through the standard procedure of getting a job, and you will most likely have to deal with management too, once you have a telecommute job, you will have increased flexibility throughout your workday, and will save the time you would usually spend on commuting. And of course, you can move far, far, away if you feel like it. Telecommuting can be a way to make ends meet by moving out of an expensive city center, without having to endure a long and torturous daily commute.

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The downside is that you can only rely on your own willpower and focus to get things done. You don’t have any of the social pressures, or any of the watch-dog managers to force your butt into action. To make sure that you don’t stray too far off course, it’s good to maintain a workday routine, even at home, and avoid fitting in a “short” Netflix break here and there, tempting though it may be.

If any of the options appeal to you, but you feel like it’s too difficult, you can always start with baby steps. In fact, it just might be the very best way to tackle it, as gradually building momentum is a lot more motivating than always trying your best every day and never getting anywhere (because these things take time).

Ultimately, freedom is subjective, and if your vision of personal freedom aligns with a “normal job” or “normal life,” great. I’m not here to tell you that’s a bad idea for you. How could I possibly know that? I’m only pointing out ways you can add some freedom for change and movement on the work side of things, if that’s a priority for you.

Featured photo credit: Nagesh Jayaraman via flickr.com

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Ragnar Miljeteig

Ragnar is a passionate writer who blogs about personal development at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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