We are so used to having a 9-5 job. Wake up, go to work, make the money you need to pay for your house, car, food, kids, and so on. It's just how it goes. We then try to schedule our personal life around work. And we do a fine job but at the end of the day we are exhausted and go to bed thinking of all the things we need to do when we wake up in the morning. Or when we finish work. Or at work. And so on. It doesn't really get any easier. Work seems to just get more demanding and kids grow and have a fuller schedule, they need more rides, more money...
How do we change this? How do we schedule life first? Can we schedule life first? Is work our life?
Trying to make that switch in my mind first and then find a way to put it in practice. This is what I've got so far:
1. Minimize expenses - this is a very hard but very huge step in the process. I don't know how one builds such big debt. The more I think about it, the more I think that inexperience and the naivety that you can easily pay the money back or the loan off is the main reason for it. The older we get, the more of an issue it becomes. Getting rid of debt was the first and more important step I could take into being able to live a fulfilling life.
2. Find different ways of making money - what I mean is creating a side business. Or two or three. I try to find a new way of making money, outside of working my full time job, every year. Add to my collection. Now, I know that it doesn't make me a lot of money, and that's ok. But new ideas and new sidehustles take a while to develop and improve. You need to figure out if they are a good fit for you, are they lucrative, do they take a lot of time, do they have potential and so on. There is no real shortcut with finding a sidehustle you enjoy. Or that you are good at. But if you really look at your strengths and at the things you enjoy, and if you have the will, things will happen.
3. Don't give up - it's so easy to just put your head down and work your 9-5. To keep at it. You tell yourself that it's a good job, it pays the bills. You have insurance and a retirement plan. And if you put in your 20 years or whatever it takes, you won't have to worry when you are older. But I know in my heart that it will not make me happy and it will not make life better in the future, because I will always wonder what if? How do I know I would have not succeeded if I have tried working for myself, hustling? You don't and you tell yourself you wouldn't have. But deep down inside you know you took the easy way out. And now it's too late. Or is it?
4. Have no fear - because things always, always find a way of working out. Maybe not how you have imagined but life does go on and you will survive, Even if you fail, you do get up and carry on. You get smarter and stronger and you will be better prepared for your next go. But if you are afraid to try, or even to dare to think about it, you will be in the same spot you are now. Do the same thing and you get the same results, we all know that.
I'm slowly working towards letting go of my job. It's a long process but not a boring process at all. The tiny details are important and there are a lot of them. I started this year with really scheduling life first, not work. I made breakfast dates with my friends, I revisited sidehustles ideas, I read more books, took more days off, more time for myself, more time to think. I made a budget, decluttered, fixed things that needed fixing and let go of things that don't give me joy. Picked a couple business ideas I had and I'm trying to get them off the ground. I scheduled my doctor appointments and made some healthy lifestyle changes. I made more time for family, for phone calls and video chats. Shared more personal tidbits with my kids, made time to learn about their friends. Have more friends over for dinner. Take more walks, travel more, write more. Made future plans, plans that don't include the 9-5. Picked a tentative date.
It takes a lot of work and soul searching to schedule life first but it makes me so much more happier at work and at home. I feel and know that I'm working towards something greater and that alone gives me the extra energy needed to make progress. I hope you take a look at your everyday routine. How does your year look like? What do you have on your calendar?