#19: Is Time Freedom Really Possible?

newsletter Dec 04, 2023

Let's jump into this week’s topic: Time Freedom.

The cliché phrase used everywhere.

For me, however, it’s not cliché. It’s very real. It’s a skill.

It’s mental and physical ability to plug into planet Earth as intended.


Here’s my definition.


Control of one's time to use as desired.

It’s central input necessary to achieve all other freedoms (financial, geographic, purpose, building relationships), allowing us to prioritize activities in alignment with values and purpose.

Think about it. When you're doing what you love or vibe with, life feels better. This is when most people feel alive. I talk about this point in Try Life On Podcast ep. 34 (Vision Lab) if you want to dig in.

That’s why fighting for time freedom is so important. It leads to spending time with family, pursuing business or personal interests, or working on personal development, for example, without constraints and demands of others.

Over the years I learned the skill of ‘controlling time’ to beat the system. And by beat the system I mean you actually have time to be your authentic self. That is the point. You live more, your way.


Here’s how I think about it.

A Try Life On principle. When it comes to time, learn to…

Protect it.
Create it.



1 - Protect Time

Leverage Pareto’s principle vs. defaulting to Parkinson’s law. Pareto’s principle says to do the 20% of things that give you 80% of the result. Parkinson's law says things expand to the time available.

The wasting of time seen in my 25 years as a corporate executive and 22 years as a military officer was epic. Even in my entrepreneurial space, it’s prevalent…

1-hour long meetings to complete a 5 min task
The arbitrary 8-hour day for outcomes achievable in one
The just because networking event because peers or friends are going

We tend to fill our day with time wasters simply because “space” exists to allow it. That’s Parkinson’s law in full effect. Then we’ll say we don’t have time for our own goals. Learn to spot time wasters and veer away.

In my corporate and entrepreneurial spaces, to the extent possible, I ignore non-impactful meetings, training classes, phone calls, travel, etc. I don’t go to conferences or happy hours just to go, for example.

From 1997 (career start) to 2013, promoted 4x.

From 2013, stopped accepting promotions (Not pay raises).

Here's why.

Making $200K at 40 hours. Next promotion was $250K, but now 70-90 hours + scrutiny from leadership. The time tradeoff wasn’t worth it (unless the position is a goal or passion), assuming you leverage the time.

Titles & money don’t always add up. An alternative thought.

Protect + leverage the time freedom to build your lifestyle.

Used 'protected' 30-50 hours and salary for financial education, bought 2000+ units of real estate, acted on TV/movies, became a police officer, built investment firm, developed Mediterranean property, 100 countries for life experiences in 30s and 40s, not 60s. Made so many friendships along the way instead of spending more time in an office.

Protected time used to build lifestyle > extra $50K.

Pareto’s Principle (the 80/20 rule) became a huge focus. I prioritized the 20% of activities giving 80% of the result (versus 80% busy work giving a 20% result), ignored the rest, and used the protected time for impactful work, life & entrepreneurial ventures.

You can too.



2 - Create Time

The notion we have no time is more we lack commitment to self. If you think otherwise, you may be fooling yourself. You find 8-10 hours a day for your employer, right? What about your own life goals?

How to create a 14-month year.

  • 4-8am each weekday = 20 hours a week
  • That’s 80 hours a month = 960 hours a year.
  • That’s 5.71 weeks created = 1.5 months!

Add a Saturday and Sunday 4-hour block…

  • That’s 112 hours a month, 1344 hours a year.
  • Close to 2 full months on YOU and DREAMS.

Whether it's 4-8 am, 7-11 pm, or 2 at lunch + 2 in the car, be intentional. Too tired? Kill Netflix or beer the night before and go to bed. Since age 25, the 4am hour has generally been my time.

You don’t have to get up at 4 am. Don’t use that as an excuse. Create time for self during some other part of day. Set priorities. It’s a choice. Make it, or someone will for you.

Created several $M businesses this way and designed life while working as a full time executive, a policeman and military officer. I still do this after 26 years because dreams evolve. My aspirations get my attention everyday.

There's lots of challenges to building the skill that is Time Freedom, including work demands, financial constraints, and personal discipline. The one I see the most is deference to societal expectations and cultural norms.

The strong emphasis on, for example, climbing the corporate ladder derails people as a chase version of success they never intended, ultimately wasting time. You could use that time to build the true dream business, lifestyle, or family you always wanted.

Be aware of the challenges. Recognize them, and make changes. Most importantly, set boundaries. In the end, your life is your own. Time Freedom is a skill you can work on.


Build it and Try Life On.

Hope this helps you.