When You’ve Been Given Back Your Time

Freedom ClockWhen I walked into work on my final day of employment, there was a box sitting on my desk with a note resting beside it.

The note read:

Early in the industrial revolution, workplaces typically had no clocks. This was done to reinforce the concept that the company owns you and your time. Thus, on retirement, a watch was given as a token that the worker was given back his time.

My friend and coworker Craig Collins wrote this note to me, and inside the box on my desk was the clock you see in that picture. This is probably the most heartfelt gift I’ve ever been given. I feel as if I’ve just gone through some major right of passage — as platitudinous as that may sound.

As I’m going through this right of passage, I’ve been thinking a lot about:

Owning Your Own Time

I’ve spoken at great length about the importance of owning your own time vs. renting out your mind. While I still stress the importance of you being in complete control of your time, it’s also worth mentioning that owning your own time isn’t everything.

Owning your own time won’t matter if…

  • You’re just as much of a tyrant/slave driver to yourself as your previous employer.
  • You are still influenced by societal pressures and let that dictate what you should be doing with your time.
  • You’re not able to exercise self-discipline in staying focused (which you need to be able to pay yourself).
  • You don’t know how to say no. You don’t know how to turn down opportunities when you’re spread too thin.
  • You still pay yourself by the hour (instead of by how much value you deliver).
  • You don’t have a good filter for focusing on high-leverage (most important) tasks vs. those that aren’t likely to make much of a difference in your business.

There are a number of other pitfalls to watch out for, and most of these apply whether you’re employed of self-employed.

But no matter how deep the trenches are, there’s no other place I’d rather be. I’m rolling around in the mud of life and getting myself dirty in this messy business of living deliberately.

And there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.

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The first few weeks of the Job Escape Kit has already produced some outcomes I’d never thought I’d see in my whole career.” ~ Nick Burk

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