Set Yourself Free By Making Yourself A Priority

There is always so much to do during a given day. So what should you do?

What’s important.

What matters to you.

What you care about.

And what will make the most significant impact five years from now?

The key is to leave everything else—the urgent, what gives you anxiety, worry, and sense of guilt—for later.

It’s a battle that you fight every day anew. It never ends.

But if you win on more days than you lose, you’ve got a chance at designing the life you want.

How Much Time Do You Have For Yourself?

Take a sheet of paper. List the top five major activities you’ve been busy with in the past week. Assign an approximate number of hours you’re giving each activity each day.

For me, it was work, exercise, writing, communication (email, social media, etc.), and house chores.

Now categorize each activity into “want” (i.e., this is something you want to be doing, and you’re doing it for yourself) and “should” (i.e., this is something you don’t want to do and are doing solely for others).

Take a look at your list. Calculate the percentage of hours you’re giving to yourself and compare it with the time you’re giving away.

How much time do you have for yourself?

If You Don’t Love Yourself, Who Will?

I remember watching an interview with a billionaire when he said this: “If you don’t love yourself, who will?”

This quote has a deeper meaning than catches the eye. It means if you don’t make your work a priority, who will?

Nobody.

If you have something planned—building a business, becoming a writer, creating content for a living, anything at all—you’re the only one who gets to act on it. Or not act. Your call.

As they say, “If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not a priority.”

So put it on a calendar. Make it a priority.

There Will Never Be the Right Moment.

It’s a cliche because it’s true.

There will never be the right moment to marry. There will never be the right moment to have kids. There will never be the right moment to say, “Fuck it!” and quit the job you hate to do something you love. And even if there was such a moment, chances are, you won’t acknowledge it. The fear will find a crack to slide into and paralyze your decision making.

The solution? Stop looking for the perfect moment. Stop looking for big blocks of time when you’ll be free. Instead, look for tiny bits of time when you can do something you want. Half an hour. Fifteen minutes. It doesn’t matter.

Life isn’t giving away tickets to freedom. Incorporate the life you want into the one you have now, and soon enough, it will take over everything else. You’ll be living a life of your own.

You Won’t Be Able To Do Everything.

You can be anything, but you can’t be everything. This phrase is true about life in general.

Similarly, on any given day, you can do anything, but you won’t be able to accomplish everything. So what should you do?

Prioritize.

What Will Matter Five Years From Now?

But how do you know what’s important or not?

My father taught me this.

Very little of what you worry about daily will matter in five years. 99% won’t. But the 1% that will is what matters. That’s what you should focus on first.

Tim Draper, the Silicon Valley billionaire and investor, taught me something else. He said, “Every day, focus first on the task that scares you most. Whatever you fear most—that’s what matters most.”

Steven Pressfield said something similar when he talked about Resistance. He said we could use fear as our compass to guide us. If we’re scared shitless, we’re on the right track.

You’ll Accomplish Everything You Ever Want…

…just not when you want it. Not immediately.

This is what the Stanford Graduate School of Business teaches its students.

In the world of Amazon Prime, Twitter feeds, and daily bloggers, our brains became used to getting something new, something we want, and getting it ASAP.

But in the offline world of old-school physics, the one where you act to achieve your dreams, nothing has changed.

Success is still hard. Things always take time. And water still boils at 100 degrees.

You’ll be able to achieve everything you want, just not everything at once.

Give it time.

Freedom Is Not Given, It’s Fought For.

Nobody will email you and say, “Hey. You’re an amazing human being. Here’s a pass to doing whatever you want. Execute on your dreams. Oh, and here are a million bucks. Just for yourself. Go nuts.”

No. Freedom is something you fight for. It’s something you create for yourself.

But I don’t agree with YouTube gurus that freedom is something you have to earn.

You can be broke and free. You can become free right now. You don’t need a million-dollar business idea.

To set yourself free, prioritize yourself.

Make your projects a priority. Make yourself a priority.

Do you first thing in the morning and let the boss call you a lazy fuck. It’s time to start executing on your dreams, not just help others execute on theirs.

So, yeah. It’s a battle. This is a wrestling match. It never ends.

Everybody in the world will try to take your freedom away from you. Society will impose guilt on you. Your friend Joe will ask you a favor to help him. And you should help your friends; it’s good to be helpful.

But at the end of the day, everybody thinks only about their affairs. And if you don’t think about yourself, nobody will.

Free yourself.

About the author
Bilingual blogger and book author from Russia. Top Medium writer. Follow Sergey on Instagram or read more articles from Sergey on Thought Catalog.

Learn more about Thought Catalog and our writers on our about page.

Related