Freedom of Schedule


This year at WordCamp Europe Siobhan McKeown spoke about the philosophy of WordPress in her talk WordPress: Bringing Ideas to Life. She talked about negative freedom (freedom from things) and positive freedom (freedom to do things).

Siobhan referenced the 4 Freedoms of WordPress listed on the projects philosophy page:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
  • The freedom to redistribute.
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others

Siobhan made the point that allowing freedom to some depended on the restraint of others.

The liberty of users must depend on the restraint of developers

Siobhan McKeown WCEU

In this way some actions are allowed by disallowing other actions. In a later talk Matt Mullenweg reinforced how the 4 Freedoms of WordPress help guide decision making of the project.

The following weekend at WordCamp Dallas I gave a talk on Running a WordPress Business While Traveling The World. I was inspired by WordPress’ philosophy of having a codified list of freedoms that guided decision making. While thinking through my family’s story I decided to write down a list of freedoms that have helped us make decisions. I titled them the 4 Freedoms of Team Espinoza.

  • Freedom of schedule
  • Freedom of location
  • Freedom to choose interesting work
  • Freedom of income

These were similar to my 8 Core Word Values. Looking back at the past few years these freedoms are what we take into consideration when we make big decisions. If we want to do something we first decide if it is in line with these freedoms.

Freedom of Schedule

For my family freedom of schedule means that we can do whatever we want whenever we want without having someone else tell us our schedule.

When our first child was born and Amanda quit her job we started the process of getting rid of “masters” in our life. We labeled anything that had a rigid “follow this schedule… or else” policy as a master. This included employers, schools, or obligations.

When it was time for our kids to start school we were faced with a decision. Either we started public school, or did something different like homeschool. A school schedule would directly conflict with the freedom of schedule so we chose homeschooling.

This freedom is also why I moved back to being a fully independent worker. Even with the most flexible remote working job the schedule is still dictated by someone else. I was expected to put in a certain number of hours per day or a certain level of work. If I wanted to take a week off and go to London on a whim I’d first need to ask for permission from my employer.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this kind of setup, it just doesn’t fit my ideal situation. If it’s possible to live and thrive with total freedom of schedule, why not make that your norm?

So when we make a big decision for our lives the first thing we ask is “How does this affect our freedom of schedule?