The life you want is built after hours.
It doesn’t come to you. It doesn’t happen through some miracle. No one’s tapping you on the shoulder and saying “you’re chosen.”
Look at what someone does after hours and you can damn near predict what their life will look like in 12–24 months.
Here are 11 suggestions for what to do after hours.
Work on an escape plan from your job
No surprise this one’s first.
Many people feel trapped in their jobs. Their lives would transform if they went from doing work out of obligation to doing it out of passion.
I worked on my escape plan from banking for 10 years.
It shouldn’t take that long but I was afraid. And at the start I was battling severe mental illness. I made two other mistakes:
- I didn’t join a paid community of people with the same goals
- I refused to pay for coaching
Knowing what I know now, I’d add these two things to my after hours plan.
I’ve learned either you become a business or you build someone else’s dreams for the rest of your life. There’s a subtle nuance though which is missed.
I don’t recommend most people become entrepreneurs.
No. I recommend you consider becoming a one-person business to start with. And what few people realize is consulting, contracting, and freelancing are all forms of one-person businesses.
There’s another slight difference.
When you’re an employee you don’t take much responsibility and comfort is the default position. When you’re a business the income source can be shut off at any point. There are no guarantees.
What this does is build in discomfort into your career. That discomfort becomes the seed of greatness over time.
Those who can battle imposter syndrome and find a way to attract business opportunities that continue to pay more, end up reaching financial freedom faster. That’ll sure as hell transform your future.
Make new internet friends
Friends get boring.
Or they have kids, move away, or develop interests you no longer relate to. According to research, over time we slowly lose friends and don’t find new ones. This can lead to loneliness. It doesn’t have to be that way.
The internet gives you access to billions of people. How do you reach out to them? Simple.
Show interest in interesting people.
Dare to research someone you admire and then email them what they’ve taught you. Don’t ask for anything. Just sit back and wait. A reply will come. Then continue the conversation and see where it leads.
Update your LinkedIn profile to attract recruiters
Maybe you’re not sold on being a business yet.
That’s fine, give it time. The next best thing is to update your LinkedIn profile to attract recruiters.
Once you start talking to them there is an opportunity to get paid more than your current job.
And the part I loved earlier in my career is that once a recruiter gets you a job, they keep offering more opportunities to you, even if you’re not looking for them.
With every job change I earned more money and upgraded my job title. This is the path to avoiding job applications and protecting yourself from recessions and sudden layoffs.
Trade Netflix for self-education
A different future requires new ideas and knowledge. Self-education is how you develop the skills needed to become a different person.
The difference is self-education is proactive and led by your curiosity. You learn about whatever you can’t stop thinking about during work hours.
For me, that was psychology and the study of high-performance individuals. I loved to deconstruct how the best in the world do what they do. To learn about their habits, routines, and mental models.
Netflix is a subscription to drain your life. Nothing is gonna transform by watching endless Marvel movies based on the same boring characters.
Share your ideas online through writing
Most of us don’t think we’re writers. Good.
Writing on the internet doesn’t require you to be a writer. All you have to do is become a curator of other people’s ideas and share stories you find or that happen in your life.
It may seem pointless, but think of it this way…
Without writing online you are a ghost. No one knows you exist or understands how you can help them. So they never contact you.
Writing online changes that. It helps you attract opportunities and give meaning to all the random stuff that happens in life.
Create your first passive income source
The best way to transform your future is to spend less time worrying and thinking about money.
Passive income is one way to ease the financial burden we all face. Sure, it won’t happen overnight and that’s not the point. The goal of passive income is to test ideas to support your main income source.
The correct passive income idea is different for everyone. No one can tell you what it is. All it takes is the drive to test a few ideas and see what works.
The most basic option is to buy stocks that create passive income. It probably won’t make you rich but it’ll at least be a start.
There’s something about earning money while you sleep that’s transformative.
Self-publish an eBook
I don’t know why but it seems everyone’s secret fantasy is to publish a book — especially if you’re over 40.
Books can be interesting projects. They can engulf you and produce some of the best flow states known to humankind. Imagine if you spent the next year writing a book after hours and finished it.
Then you self-published it on Amazon and promoted it on social media. That’d feel ten times better than watching Ted Lasso for the 100th time.
Creativity is what makes us come alive after hours.
Read a naughty fiction book
The trend that’s supposed to be our friend is to read non-fiction books like crazy. Go on social media and you’ll see everyone flashing the book they’re reading. Yuck.
There is such thing as too much information, too much learning.
Fiction helps the brain meditate.
It traps your mind in a story that takes away the pain of whatever happened during work hours. Much of what happens in fiction is based on real life too. So it’s a subtle form of learning without going all self-helpy.
Create an app deletion habit
Every night if I have a few minutes, I like to delete phone apps.
I find I hoard apps the way billionaires hoard money they don’t need. My wife hates this after hours habit. She’ll tell me to download an app for a specific task then once the task is complete I delete it.
The framework I use to delete apps is this:
What apps are useful? What apps are using me?
Then I delete as many apps as possible. I find a clean phone increases my focus on the goals that matter. Try it.
Study your addictions
Whether you want to admit it or not, we all are addicted to something.
I had a deadly addiction to sugar for years. Then I watched “That Sugar Film” and quit. I had an addiction to smoking in my teenage years, too, to look cool and try to make friends.
Addictions make us feel shame. But they’re not permanent. We can recover from addiction once we understand what it is and how it works.
Often, addictions are the result of trauma or because of unmet goals that could have been worked on after hours.
The science of addiction is fascinating. Dare to study it.
Play with your kid
Joker from Batman: Why so serious?
Life is meant to be lived. Don’t spend every moment trying to transform. If you’re like me and have kids, play with them. Chase them around the house. Have a tea party. Use your imagination.
You may just find time with kids makes you realize how much of your natural curiosity and creativity has died since you became an adult.
Kids = Fun
Fun is what lets the dots in the brain join together and create wisdom while you’re giggling like a schoolgirl with your kid. Try it. Or abduct someone else’s kids if you have none (joking not joking).