The Minimalist Freedom Schedule: How One Chick Is Living Her Dreams (And How You Can Too)

Some people think self-employment is risky, but the real risk lies in deriving your security from an external source. – Chris Guillebeau,

It’s 3:17 a.m. as I’m writing this. I just finished a small bowl of organic oats and honey granola cereal and a cup of fresh-leaf Jasmine green tea (yes, these two CAN go together, just watch me).

Comfortably in a pair of worn sweats and tank top, my hair pulled back into a loose ponytail, I write through the wee hours of the morning. Then I write some more. And more. And more.

I look around me in my small Chicago apartment bedroom. I barely have anything. I’m ready to go to Taiwan in a few weeks’ time. My minimalist life affords me serenity, mobility, flexibility, and above all, freedom of autonomy.

I am my own person. I do what I want, when I want, wherever I want, however I want and whomever I want.

Which means, I do what I love, not what I hate.

This is crucial: I do what I love, not what I hate.

Can you say the same for yourself?

The I-Hate-My-Life Schedule

What about this? Does this sound all too familiar?

Wake up in the super early hours of the morning, realizing that you slept 20 minutes past the time you were supposed to wake up. [Crap! I’m gonna be late for work!]

Hurriedly get dressed, furiously brush your teeth and grab a piece of burnt toast to go with your cup of bold, liquid drug called coffee. [Dammit, I need to leave now!]

Honk, cuss, yell, scream and throw an adult temper tantrum as you shimmy and shuffle your way through the jam-packed morning rush hour in order to get to work, barely on time. [Stupid idiots! Where’d you learn to drive?!]

Arrive at the colorless office, walk briskly to your dust-filled, paper-filled gray cubicle that will be your home (dungeon) for the next 8-12 hours, depending on your crazy boss’ mood and workload and start loading your computer up. [Whew! Close one.]

Nod ferociously as your boss, yet again, asks you to stay late on this new customer data project that will be launching live. You’re the lead project coordinator on this. So of course, you say yes. Again. [Damn. I guess I’ll have to call my wife and tell her to cancel our 7:00 dinner plans with Jamie and Dawn. I was really looking forward to that too …]

Whittle away your dreadfully long day through erroneous activities, typing up ridiculously stupid memos and e-mails that don’t really mean anything, shoot the breeze with coworkers who are incredibly complacent or unhappy with their mind-numbing jobs and their boring lives and increasingly become more and more miserable as the day wears on. You start to work on auto-pilot, not knowing what you’ve sent out, whom you sent it out to and what you’re supposed to do next. Your mind is blank. Your soul is dying. You’re the walking dead. You just can’t think anymore. And this feeling of extreme exhaustion … it’s too deep to even explain. You’re in your own living nightmare and you just can’t seem to wake up. [I’m so, so incredibly tired … I just want to sleep.]

Finally, after the data project has finally launched successfully, you look at the time as it reads 7:49 p.m. You pack up your briefcase, grab your coat and trudge out the door and into the brisk evening. You know you’ll be back here all too soon the very next morning and you contemplate, more as a joke at first but then increasingly think it through seriously, about sleeping under your cube. [Might as well. It’ll save me time in the morning …]

Coming back home at 8:47 p.m., you kiss your wife good-night as she heads to bed early while you zone out in front of the television watching insipid commercials on electric shavers and Mountain Dew, chewing lukewarm leftovers from a dinner you weren’t home to eat. [Is this all there is to life?]

The next morning …

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beeeeeeep!!!!! SLAM! You bash the alarm clock against the wall, as you do this all over again. For the rest. Of. Your. Life.

The Quitting Imperative

You need to quit and you need to do it now.

Yes, I know that sounds incredibly uncomfortable. You’re shaking a little with nervousness. You shift side to side in your mushy and lumpy swivel chair they gave you at work because they decided to go cheap on proper chairs for their drones, as you quickly take in gasps of stale air from the uncirculated office that doesn’t smell like anything but death.

You have wildly bold dreams of a better life. And if only you could win the lottery …

NO! The lottery-winning fantasies will never help you get out of a situation you feel you need to force yourself into. No matter how much you shove, you can’t fit a cube into a triangular hole. It wasn’t meant to be.

It is not for lack of money you don’t quit your soul-sucking day job; it is lack of courage.

You see, you don’t need a lot of money to have freedom. You think you do but you really don’t.

I don’t have rich parents and I’m not a trust fund baby. I grew up bouncing from home to home to home amongst my relatives and family friends and working in my family’s restaurant since the age of 12. Money was never easy to earn and it left us faster than an Olympic sprinter. I know you’d say the same thing too.

So why did I leave my day job and am now urging you too?

Because deep within your soul, you know. You know the answer and you know it all too well.

You know you deserve better than this.

Want to know what it feels like to be on the other side? Want to know what it feels like to be free?

This is how one passionate chick is living her dreams. You can too.

The Minimalist Freedom Schedule (Or, The I-Love-My-Life Schedule)

My days are never typical; I don’t have a standard schedule and I don’t ever really want one. I go with the flow, feel my fiery creative energy bursting through me and work with vigor and intensity that would rival any corporate executive. How do I know? Because I’ve been there and back.

Today, my day looked like this:

1:32 p.m. Wake up naturally after having gone to bed at 5:17 a.m., another all-night writing session complete.

1:45 p.m. Go to the kitchen and start boiling water for my coffee I will French press into pure caffeinated perfection.

1:55 p.m. Slowly sip my hot coffee as I do some reading. Not the newspaper or the local Red Eye (gave these up 2 years ago). But a bonafied book.

2:45 p.m. Turn my laptop on and check my blog, e-mails, Twitter and Facebook. Schedule some Skype sessions.

4:00 p.m. Video chat with a fellow blogger and friend. Laughter, jokes, good times and fun ensues. Talk about changing the world then actually go and do something about it.

5:30 p.m. Shower after a quick 12-minute workout at home. Push ups, squats, V-ups, stretching. While most people are commuting back home fighting traffic or worse, staying late yet another consecutive night at the office, I’m singing in the shower with shampoo suds in my hair and a smile on my face.

6:00 p.m. Make dinner. Tonight’s dinner is light. Toasted French baguette with melted pepper jack cheese on top. A small banana on the side and a cup of hot oolong tea. Delicious and simple.

6:30 p.m. Drive to the art studio in Bridgeport where I paint with my Brazilian art teacher and friend Dagmar.

7:00-10:00 p.m. Create lasting masterpieces: friendship and art. Sway my hips and dance to Brazilian music, learn one Portuguese phrase (Beijo!) and paint my heart out. Glass of vino optional.

10:30 p.m. Arrive back at my apartment, do a happy jig as I enter my bedroom and load up the laptop for some mad writing action.

11:00 p.m.-5:00 a.m. Write and create. I don’t write this entire time but my brain is fired up for intense 3-hours-in-a-row writing if I wanted to. I’ve done it many times before and will do it many times in the future.

5:15 a.m. Fall into a peaceful slumber after my body tells me I’m tired, knowing full well that I am so totally free and enjoying every moment of it.

I am so incredibly alive and I am so happy. I want the same for you too.

Announcing Minimalist Freedom

That is why on January 1, 2011, I’m launching Minimalist Freedom: The Powerful Manifesto to Creating Your Very Own Personal Freedom. It’s a dynamite free eBook and it’ll be available right here. Subscribe to get your free updates with or .

You deserve so much more than you give yourself credit for. Believe it.

Shaken AND Stirred

If any of the above things I’ve said in this post made you feel nervous and uncomfortable, that’s a good thing. Because in order to change your life for the better, you’re going to have to shake things up a bit. Scratch that. Not just a bit. You’re going to have to shake things up A LOT. You can’t just accept, you can’t just settle. No. Demand more from yourself, dammit.

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