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Job Lesson 4: There are Things other than Work

·5 mins
This is the fourth part of the 5 Lessons after 5 Months of a Full-time Job series.

Continuing with the theme of you not being just your job, the natural implication is that there are other things to do than just working. Assuming you have other interests than just the activity for which the market is currently monetarily compensating you, the world is your oyster, and you can do pretty much anything you want, given enough money and time for it ๐ŸŒŽ! If you’re like me, this means you’ll want to try out just about every hobby there is!

Interestingly, I’ve found that doing hobbies is often easier to do now than during uni. Starting hobbies was definitely easier at uni, due to the plethora of societies with taster sessions, but, as explained before, the lack of boundaries made it harder to keep doing them. Now, the time is scarcer and every club or gym you join is more expensive, but the clearer separation from work makes it easier to stick to it, and not just study (or work) unboundedly. But before we dive into hobbies, a quick note about learning.

Despite “learning by doing” at work, I think it is still beneficial to find some dedicated time outside of work to learn things that make you better at your job. Your job is now making you money, and is hopefully something you like, so it makes sense to improve in it! Anything from doing online courses, reading books, to doing side projects can make you better at your job, but I like to consider these things an investment in me, above all. That is why I think it’s sensible to do these things in my free time, not just in that paid for by my employer.

All of the things you learn form your knowledge portfolio, arguably your most important asset in the current knowledge worker market, and it is wise to make it a habit to regularly invest in it. As with every habit, starting small, gaining consistency, and then scaling up, is most likely the way to go. As I mentioned before, I like to do this in the mornings, as I can reduce the inherent randomness of the day as it unfolds, and stick to the habit1. It really pays dividends to be able to learn in a fun way, unconstrained by your employer’s needs.

Learning is not just about passively reading, and it really helps to actively use learned skills in something creative. I’m constanty amazed at how many creative things can people do outside of their jobs. From software engineers starting YouTube channels, writing blogs, doing open- source, there are a gazillion of different ways to be creative in a fun way. Blogging is my go at it, and given that this is my first blog post after many months of being employed, you can probably tell I haven’t yet made it a habit, but I’d definitely like to do more of it. I guess I could try to blog daily, but I’d also like to maintain some spontaneity, so that writing wouldn’t feel like a chore ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ!

I also feel it is important to just do stuff that sparks you joy, which is where the “traditional” hobbies come in. Bouldering, sailing, hiking or any sport are popular picks, but if you really enjoy knitting, go find some time to do it! I actually think that doing something active with your body is a must-have, as there is very solid scientific evidence stating there really isn’t an alternative to being physically active when you want to stay healthy. Again, I’ve been a bit lazy recently, but I’m constantly motivated by my colleagues who make time to exercise despite having kids and many other responsibilities ๐Ÿ’ช!

As I wrote before, remember that weekends really are a bliss. Doing what you love, not doing work, and minimising time spent doing all those little things like paying bills is important, but I also feel an important thing to do is to do nothing. My experience has often been that I try to do so many things during my weekends that I actually end up feeling tired on Sunday nights, which is when I should feel rested and ready for the week!

Just recently, I’ve started scheduling “doing nothing” for my Sunday evenings, and even though I haven’t yet got to actually doing it (doing nothing is hard!), I’m hopeful that as things are starting to get a bit more settled in my life right now, I’ll actually get to do nothing soon! I’m also thinking of combining it with a “no screen” time, as I think I spend too much of my existence staring into screens, and many times I should rather go for a walk or something. I’ll definitely send an update once I get to it ๐Ÿ˜…!

In essence, doing things other than work is fun, beneficial for you (both mentally and physically), and in many cases also beneficial for others. As a favourite sentence of mine says, let’s all contribute to a world where we’re passionate about building and creating things in a self-motivated and self-directed way ๐Ÿ˜Š!

Read the next part of the series:

Lesson 5: You Start Losing Options

  1. This will, of course, be very personal, but to give an idea, I’m currently doing some courses, reading some books, and trying to remember at least some of it ๐Ÿ™ƒ.  ↩︎