One of the biggest shockers that’s become apparent to me in the “working world” was the little amount of time that it left for “me” time. In school I pretty much did what I wanted with my time. I chose my class schedule (it optimized nap times), whether or not to work (opted for not working), and the organizations that I wanted to be a part of. This all changed when the 40 hour work week attacked *cue intro music from Avatar the last Airbender*.
This has left me with 8 hours a day that I don’t have free reign over… With no time for naps. It’s definitely a big shift. Since I get home around 6:30 PM and try to go to sleep around 10:30 PM I’m left with about 4 hours to complete all of the things that I want to do. This is just me personally though. That 4 hours is cut even shorter if it includes obligations to your partner, children, events, or things like grocery shopping.
After I realized how little time people have to themselves I began to ask the question, “Why it was that anyone would stay in a job that they merely tolerate?” Quite literally, that’s where you’re spending most of your life. In other words, if you merely tolerate your job than you’re merely tolerating your life. The answer to my question came to me when I got the opportunity, through my internship, to go on ride-alongs with two individuals working on the customer facing side of the company. In essence, the answer was that people have financial obligations and value security.
Not every person wants to be an entrepreneur, which is perfectly fine. Security by way of income, health insurance, and benefits are really nice. The thought of not having to live on someone’s couch while you try to uncover your true passion can also be pretty appealing too. However, the good news is that you don’t have to couch surf for months on end while trying to figure out your passions and create the life that you love. This goes for whether your dream is to work a job that you love or start your own business. With the small amount of time that you have everyday there are a couple of things to do in order to begin living a life you enjoy… Not just one that pays the bills.
1. Figure out what you value
Before you can start working towards your better life, you need to first answer the questions: “What do I like?” and “What do I value?” In answering these questions you have to go a bit deeper to discover the why behind what you like.
Example: “I like music.” Okay, a lot of people do. The question is, “Why do you like music?”
- “I like the passion that you can hear in an artist’s song.”
- This could indicate that you care about the well being of people.
- “I like all of the little parts that go together in the instrumentals.”
- This could reveal that you could enjoy work that requires attention to detail.
- “I like the lyrics. The metaphors and analogies get me every time.”
- You might like work that has a heavier emphasis on writing.
The same process goes for values as you will now be able to understand what exactly brings you satisfaction in life.
Example: The statement “I value ethics” could translate to an occupation where you are helping people in your organization to be more ethically aware. It could also translate to a business where you develop a course to teach young adults or even interns how to be ethical in life and the workplace. The possibilities are endless.
Whether you’re trying to find a job that better suits you or uncover skills that you can leverage to start a business, this step is crucial to your success.
2. Plan Your Time
“So I’ve done the self-evaluation and know what I like and value… Cool. Now what?”
Now, you can plan to improve and use those skills to get to where you want to be. The most important thing that you can do when short on time is to plan the little bit that you do have effectively. I’m not going to lie to you, this isn’t easy. It requires a lot of discipline so you’re going to have to want it for yourself. *cue “Eye of the tiger”*
Use your travel time to learn
Most people have a daily commute to their office and back. If your commute is at least 30 minutes in either direction this is an hour of time that you have available to do a slew of primarily audio related activities that will progress you towards your goals. In this time you can:
-Listen to a podcast or YouTube video to learn about an industry or new skill that you’re curious about. There’s a lot of information out there dependent on your interests.
Set at least 30 minutes a day out to develop your dream
30 minutes isn’t a lot of at all. It’s a half hour TV-show or about 10 songs.
During this time, you should be progressing your goal, whether that’s contacting potential customers to uncover their needs, or emailing professionals within the field you’re curious about to learn what skills they’re seeking. When you get into the grove of progress this time will naturally extend over 30 minutes. The key point of starting small is simply to start.
**In the Long term this time will be used to applying the knowledge that you’ve learned; i.e. developing skills or completing orders/selling to your customers.
I truly believe that the easiest way to get into the habit of 30 minutes a day is to do it around the same time everyday. Where you place this time is your personal choice, but I would recommend doing it as soon as you get off of work since you’ll still be in the mindset of doing work.
3. Don’t make excuses, just do it.
“I’m tired”, “I’ve worked all day”, “Netflix just put out a new season”… We’ve all been there. They’re all excuses for not getting your personal work done. As an individual that binge watched the entire season of “Dear White People” the night before a final exam, I understand. There are plenty of things we’d rather do than “more work”. We’re not going to be on it every single day. That’s okay. What we do have to realize is that if we can find time for those other activities, we have time. One thing that we can’t do is to complain that we don’t have any time when it miraculously appears for other activities.
So, go out there. Be strategic with your goals. Plan for your dreams. Build your life, don’t let it build you.
peace + love