Chloe Leibowitz

Discipline = Freedom

Another blog about some lockdown learnings! I hope it’s not becoming tiring, but it definitely has taught us a thing or two.

Does the title “discipline = freedom” mean anything to you? It’s a phrase someone said to me years ago, and it has just stuck. Because it’s true. But it’s not always something I achieve. It can be very changeable, seemingly in turn with the ups and downs of daily life. But, perhaps, lockdown is trying to tell me it’s much more in my control than I believe it is.

As you know, I work as a Life Coach. I work with all kinds of clients, on all sorts of issues. I also spend lots of time working with small business owners, both in my private practise, and also as Co-Founder of We Are Tabono. 

A lot of my focus with clients is around getting organised, creating focus and vision, setting goals, taking action and boosting productivity, happiness, wellbeing and confidence.

I know that achieving all of this takes time. It takes persistence and new habits being implemented. Accountability, and working with a coach is a great help when it comes to making progress, which is why life coaching and business coaching is so popular and powerful.

So, how does this link into lockdown and learnings? Well, I know it’s not just me who has benefitted from the feeling of extra hours in the day. Mine come mainly from not doing endless school and activity runs, and from having virtual meetings and networking, rather than spending lots of time going out and about.

What this has given me, and other people I’ve spoken to, is a new sense of balance. When I mentioned earlier that “discipline = freedom” doesn’t always happen, are there new things we’ve learned from lockdown that can help us make this more of a reality? After all, it would be easy to say no, as we anticipate the loss of the extra hours once things go back to “normal”.

I know for some people, the word discipline, might not be what they want to hear. But the thing is, I’m quite a free spirit in some ways, so it’s not necessarily my go to word, or a core value. I’m very sociable, wanting to see people a lot and have plenty of in person interactions. I’m very positive and “cup half full”, and find seeing other people just gives me added sparkle!

So, that being said, is discipline a word I want to readily hear and use? Not really. However, it is quite clear to me, that having some discipline when it comes to my working day, and choosing wisely how to spend my time, can give me the freedom to indulge in sociability and the downtime I really crave.

If I look now at my working week pre Corona, I can clearly see where I give away a lot of time that could be productive time. Yes, some of the time I give away is so I can indulge that people person side of me, but some of it is just a resistance to structure. The backfire of this is that I then have to give up time outside of the working day to catch up. Not clever!!

What can we take forward to carve out a new way of living post lockdown, even if we won’t magically keep that extra hours feeling? I for one, will be being more “disciplined” in order to feed that freedom feeling that I so desperately crave!

  1. What I will do for myself, and what I work on with clients, is looking at what is essential and non-essential. What can be delegated? What can we lose? How much time do we want to spend working? Where does our downtime come and how do we want to spend it?
  1. Rather than letting the days run us, we need to run the days. We decide what happens when, and if we stick to that sort of discipline, we can take the freedom it offers in return!

For me, this all boils down to structure. I already have the outlines of structure that I was working with previously. I know how my weeks generally look, and therefore I will take a closer look at what I was filling the time with and how I can do it better, more efficiently. 

  1. Then it’s all down to the day to day planning. Using timed chunks throughout your day to get tasks done is always a winner. Rather than procrastinating and letting the task take over your day, decide that you only have a finite amount of time to get it done. Remove the interruptions, notifications and other distractions, and keep going until that slot is up.
  1. Rewarding yourself for jobs done is a great incentive. For me, that might mean that if I’ve knuckled down and got through my tasks for the day, I can call a friend for a catch up, or even meet with someone for a chat.
  1. That said, limiting the amount of “coffees” and also networking 1:1’s is needed. I can easily spend big chunks of time on meetings and meet ups, whilst that means I have to get back to work much later in the day. Decide how often you can afford to have these meetings, and then stick to it, even if that means bookings this weeks and weeks in advance.

Are you naturally very disciplined, or do you need a helping hand to keep you focused? What adjustments will you be making in life after lockdown? I would love to know in the comments. If you’d like to chat about changing your habits and getting more productive, get in touch here.

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