Does discipline give you freedom?

How often do you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel or being pulled in a million and one directions? I think we all do some days… which is why this quote by New York Times bestselling author Greg McKeown really hit home for me:
“If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will.”

It makes absolute sense and sounds so simple, yet it’s one of those elusive things that is so hard to get right!

But what does discipline have to do with all of this? When I first heard the phrase ‘discipline gives you freedom’ I dismissed it immediately as I’m not one for structure and routine! But the more I thought about it, the more I resonated with it.

Author of Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual Jocko Willink explains, “While Discipline and Freedom seem like they sit on opposite sides of the spectrum, they are actually very connected. Freedom is what everyone wants — to be able to act and live with freedom. But the only way to get to a place of freedom is through discipline.

If you want financial freedom, you have to have financial discipline. If you want more free time, you have to follow a more disciplined time management system. You also have to have the discipline to say “No” to things… like random YouTube videos… and even events that you agree to attend when you know you won’t want to be there.

Discipline equals freedom applies to every aspect of life: if you want more freedom, get more discipline.”

After mulling over this for a minute or two I decided to lean into my activator strength and set a few simple goals to be more disciplined:

  1. Have a priority list not a to do list
  2. Focus on outcomes not hours
  3. Block book my time
  4. Close or mute all communication channels whenever possible
  5. Stop feeling guilty for saying no

Rather than giving you my two cents on each of these points, I’m going to share a couple of articles and tools which I’ve found really useful:

Use the Eisenhower Matrix:

Allocate tasks to one of four quadrants:

  • Urgent and important: do these tasks as soon as possible
  • Important, but not urgent: schedule these tasks in
  • Urgent, but not important: delegate these tasks to someone else
  • Neither urgent nor important: drop these from your list as soon as possible

Set yourself up for success

Figure out when you’re naturally most productive during the day or week and

schedule your highest priorities during these slots.

Stop Parkinson’s Law before it starts

Parkinson’s Law is the old adage that work expands to fill the time allocated. This article gives 5 practical steps to set your team up for success right from the outset and boost the chances of wrapping up a project on time.

There is certainly no one size fits all formula, or magic wand to bring discipline in to your life, but in the wise words of our Happiness Coach Tammy Godsall: you create your own truth and own reality. So take a moment to reflect on what yours looks like, and consider what do you want to change after reading this.

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