Beware of These 10 “False Freedoms”

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Memorial Day is finally here, a day to remember the ultimate sacrifice others made so that we could live freely. I am so grateful! Freedom means a lot to me, so much so that my tagline is, “Freedom Through Organization.” In many ways, freedom implies the opportunity to act without interference or external control.  Of course, the flip side of freedom is the burden to bear the consequences of our choices. As the old saying goes, “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.”

Freedom, therefore, is best paired with wisdom. A wise person voluntarily submits to boundaries in order to optimize quality of life. For example, we may be able to eat hot fudge sundaes every day but in the interest of good health choose to eat a more varied diet.

When it comes to organizing and productivity, it is tempting to use our right of self-determination to justify poor choices. Messages that sound like rights are often nothing more than deceptive temptations, leading us into burdensome habits and behaviors.

If you want to make wise choices with your time, space, and belongings, be on your guard against these Ten False Freedoms.

#1 “Freedom” to dump my stuff wherever I want

What we tell ourselves:

“It is my stuff and I can do whatever I want with it.”

“I actually like it this way.”

What often results:

  • Items get lost or damaged
  • Cohabitants resent the disorder
  • Time is wasted looking for things
  • Money is spent buying duplicates or replacements
  • Shame inhibits hospitality

#2 “Freedom” to take a break whenever I want

What we tell ourselves:

“I know how I work best and I am good at multi-tasking.”

“I can check my social media/email/messages and still get everything done.”

What often results:

  • Distracted thinking
  • Incomplete projects
  • Lack of focus
  • Missed deadlines
  • Resentful team members
  • Disappointment in self

#3 “Freedom” to show up when it is convenient for me

What we tell ourselves:

“My time is my own.”

“Only I know what is on my plate, and if I am late, others will just have to deal with it.”

What often results:

  • Embarrassment
  • Stress
  • Unsafe driving
  • Lack of preparedness
  • Inability to handle unanticipated problems
  • Frustrated friends, family and co-workers

#4 “Freedom” to wait until I’m “in the mood” to get started

What we tell ourselves:

“I don’t need to pressure myself to work on this now.”

“There is plenty of time, and I will do a better job if I wait until I feel ready.”

What often results:

  • Procrastination
  • Guilt
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Disappointed friends, family members and co-workers
  • Underachievement

#5 “Freedom” to accumulate as much as I want

What we tell ourselves:

“I’ve worked hard for my money and if I want it, I should be able to buy it.”

“I deserve this.”

“If I get this, my life will be better.”

What often results:

  • Overcrowded spaces
  • Feeling Overwhelmed
  • Debt
  • Greed
  • Dissatisfaction and further accumulation

#6 Freedom to leave things unfinished

What we tell ourselves:

“I will eventually get to it.”

“I don’t have time now, but I will later.”

What often results:

  • Unfinished projects
  • Shame
  • Self-doubt
  • Frustrated family members and co-workers

#7 Freedom to wing it

What we tell ourselves:

 “I don’t need to plan out every little detail.”

“I know in my head what needs to get done and that is enough.”

What often results:

  • Poor communication
  • Missed deadlines
  • Forgotten tasks

#8 Freedom to hit “snooze”

What we tell ourselves:

“Sleeping for five or ten more minutes will make me feel more rested.”

“Snoozing a couple of times makes it easier to get up.”

What often results:

  • Disrupted sleep
  • Being woken from a deep sleep
  • Diminished brain response to alarms

#9 Freedom to do everything my own way

What we tell ourselves:

“Nobody else can do this as well as I can.”

“It’s just easier if I do it myself.”

What often results:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Close-mindedness
  • Lack of trust
  • Fractured family and work relationships

#10 Freedom to indulge in a bad mood

What we tell ourselves:

“I’ve had a hard day and I don’t owe anyone happiness.”

“I can’t control how I feel.”

What often results:

  • A “bad mood” ripple effect
  • Fractured work and family relationships
  • Stunted productivity
  • Guilt

*     *     *     *     *

Have you ever been deceived by any of these “false freedoms?”

26 thoughts on “Beware of These 10 “False Freedoms””

    1. I’ve been tempted by all of them, hence my list:) I gave up the snooze a couple of years ago. It was a habit that grew out of exhaustion, but I have to say I don’t regret it. I rarely it now. My goal is to get up when I am coming out of my sleep cycle, even if that is a few minutes before my alarm. Easier said than done, but I just feel better when I do this.

    1. Happy long weekend to you too, Janine! Hope you and the family get to enjoy a fun day “off,” outside in this beautiful sunshine!

    1. Thanks Cathy! I’ve fallen victim to all of them, at one time or another. Trying to silence the lies, as tempting as they are. Day by day…

  1. Great blog theme. As I read the quote “with freedom comes responsibility” came to mind. It’s interested what we tell ourselves we can get away with, but when you add the factor of accountability it changes things.

    1. We don’t do ourselves a favor when we believe a lie. It always comes back to bite us. Accountability is the key word for sure Janet!

  2. I love this post! I do find that if I don’t create a deadline for a particular task, it doesn’t get done. Being a small business owner, I do find that I work for others, but when I need to do things for my business, I put it off because I can. I have to commit to myself that on Sunday PM I will work on my stuff, so it is done before Monday’s clients work. I even added it to my calendar to alert me on Sundays if I forget.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…How to Make Your Work Space More OrganizedMy Profile

    1. Sunday nights are sort of a critical planning point for me as well, Sabrina! That’s when I envision the week, and lay out my plan. Of course, it doesn’t always go according to plan, but at least I have a clear of idea of what I ned to accomplish.

  3. @Seana- As always, I love the various perspectives you offer up. I’m sure that I’m guilty of doing most of these at some point, but what struck me is that I don’t ALWAYS do them. Especially when we tend to be highly disciplined, there are times I like to indulge a bit. I don’t ever take it to extreme levels, but some factors make it impossible to sustain perfect boundaries and discipline 100% of the time. I used to be very hard on myself when I went off the path (like eating that hot fudge sundae or winging it.) But I’ve come to appreciate the times when I do respect and honor the freedoms (which is most of the time,) and the need to sometimes break out of the mold.

    My mom taught me to make my bed every morning. She emphasized how little time it took and how much better the room felt after putting things back. She also liked the feeling of getting into a made bed at night. With her influence, I adopted the habit of always (well almost always) making my bed in the morning. On the rare occasions that I don’t, I feel rebellious. I don’t do this frequently, but there are times that it just feels good to exercise my “don’t have to make my bed every morning” freedom.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…What’s Are Today’s Interesting Finds? – v23My Profile

    1. What a neat gift your Mom gave you. I always make my bed as well, even in a hotel room. I can totally relate to the idea of feeling like a rebel to leave it unmade. I think that “indulged thrill” comes from the fact that you normally are very disciplined. It is the rare break from the routine that means so much.

  4. I am guilty of several of these. The bad mood one is particularly true although I think I control this pretty well. Freedom is a precious word in all it’s contexts.

    1. I think there are some projects that we do need to be “in the mood” for, and that is okay. We just can’t fall into that mindset for the majority of our regular responsibilities. Some projects I let sit until true inspiration hits, and once it does, I am off to the races. It’s all about balance I think.

  5. All these freedoms work against us! Instead of freeing us, these ideas bring us into a greater state of disorder. What a great way to create awareness!

    1. Lies are so tempting because they often contain just enough “truth” to draw us in. They seem like good things, but end up hurting us in the end. Awareness is key, right?

  6. #4 sounds a bit too familiar for me. I tend to put off certain tasks if I think they’re going to be too difficult or time-consuming. Breaking them down into micro tasks is really helpful because once I get rolling, I realize it’s not as bad as I thought.

    1. I always find the anticipation of a thing worse than the doing of a thing. You’d think that would always motivate me to begin, but often, I still put things off. I’m with you… I keep asking myself what tiny step I can take that doesn’t feel too unpleasant or difficult.

  7. I’m with Janet on #4. I find that I really need to schedule those tasks I keep putting off if I really want to get them done. That old adage ‘a to-do not tied to a to-when rarely gets done’ rings true for me.

    1. Totally rings true for me as well. Until it gets scheduled, it just sort of sits there, waiting for my attention. Isn’t it amazing how many rationalizations we can come up with NOT to do something?

  8. Thanks for such an insightful list–and for exposing the consequences too! Regarding #6, I like having Friday be “Finish it Friday” where I make a point to close out as many unfinished tasks as possible rather than start something new. As for #8, I love the challenge of waking up before my alarm–which means I must pay attention to when I go to bed! I appreciate your wisdom, Seana. 🙂
    Olive Wagar recently posted…Minimize Your Mental Clutter & Maximize Your ProductivityMy Profile

    1. I definitely have to pay attention to when I go to bed too, Olive! Sometimes it is tempting to just stay up later, but I always pay the next day. Most days, I wake just before my alarm. I figure this must be a phenomenon that someone understands. I don’t know why it happens, but it works for me!

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