We do well when applying a structure – those imposed by you and those imposed by others. Right now the libertarian in you will be shouting me down. I am all for live and let live but if you are in pursuit of a career, there’s no way around it. Applying a Structure tames your wild side. It tames it so that you can be productive when you need to be and let loose when it’s time to do so.
We have an official routine hammered into us right when we start kindergarten, school, university and eventually work. From the micro-level morning routine to larger societal structures set into place. The need for it is instilled in you from a young age. When your mum made you take those pesky violin lessons you never wanted. You did it because you just saw it as another chore – just as much as school was – no way to opt out. Then suddenly you grow up and it’s all up to you and you find it hard to discipline yourself. Freedom has a way of taking you aback.
Freedom isn’t the antithesis of applying a structure
Applying a structure is so closely connected to maturity and adulting that it loses much of its shine. It is likely lost on high school students if you attempt to lecture them on it. Hence, we don’t explain why they have to be in the classroom by half 8, we just make sure they are. It’s only when you lose it, soon followed by the initial exhilaration of waking up whenever you damn well please for extended periods of time that you may find yourself slipping.
A ‘late’ start used to be 10am. Now it’s 12. Work provides you a structure and you’ll abide by it for the simple reason that if you don’t there are consequences. Real-life, hard-hitting consequences that surround your survival and future.
No one likes a 9am. Everyone loves the snooze button that is until you snoozed one too many times and are rushing.
Structure through work
I am a contactor, I work intensely for a few months, put in the overtime when needed and between every role, I can afford myself a long ass chilling period. It’s a great choice for someone who is happy to work hard, stick to structure for a few months and doesn’t mind the ever-changing environments, projects, brands, and faces.
It’s different from the entrepreneur, however. The entrepreneur will have to develop some serious self-discipline to further their goal. There’s never a real ‘chilling period’ because both dimensions of work and leisure time are fused. Contractors, on the other hand, usually work to deadlines and often work on-site under a person in charge. Entrepreneurs will work at home, for themselves, by themselves and everything is technically a choice, relative and negotiable and answerable to you. If you have self-discipline, however, you won’t see it as a choice. You take your self-made man hours just as strictly as you would working for the man – or even more so.
It’s simply a matter of self-discipline, forcing yourself to do what’s good over what feels good in the moment. And isn’t that life summarized? Chocolate > salad, sleep-in > get up, work hard > take shortcuts. It’s a battle between the easy and the difficult. It’s up to you to find the deeper meanings and fish out the motivations that work for you. Reasons that are strong enough to get you up in the morning, against the many comfort-based factors that keep you in bed for another 3 hours.