I tried an unstructured life for a few months. No wake up time, no schedule, no commitment on deliverables. I was free to do anything I feel like doing. It seemed like the ideal state to be in, right?
I quickly realized though, this kind of lifestyle isn’t for me.
Day after day pass without anything meaningful happening. I had a list of things I wanted to do when I was super busy, but I have a lot of friction getting started.
My main issue turned out to be not having a structure.
I used to think being free means being able to do anything I want. It’s true. But what isn’t obvious is suddenly you have to decide on a lot things. Deciding on every single thing every day is mentally exhausting. “What am I going to do today? What time am I going to start? How much time should I spend on it?”
Pre-deciding is the key
A full-time job have a built-in structure. I wake up, take a shower, go to office. And in the office I have another set of routine to sit-down, identify what you need to do, do it until end of day.
This works because things are pre-decided for me. I didn’t have to think about it. I just have to follow it. That’s why it’s easier to do things.
I still don’t want the 9-5 lifestyle. It’s too rigid for me. What I end up copying is only pre-deciding on things. I start each week with a weekly planning where I check my calendar with upcoming commitments. I then list things I have to deliver within the week and arbitrarily put them any day depending on when it’s expected.
This significantly reduced the friction on how I start my day. Because it was pre-decided already. I just have to sit down and do it.
Structure sets me free in a way I don’t have to think of what I need to do everyday.