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What you do outside of work determines your success (5 things to do in your ‘off hours’ )

You haven’t eaten anything since breakfast (you ate breakfast, right?), you’ve been putting out fires all day, a customer chewed you out, and let’s not even talk about your inbox. What’s this inbox zero thing that people are talking about anyway?

It’s finally hit 5pm and you’re exhausted. You want to face plant onto your bed, order a pizza, and binge on Game of Thrones for the evening. Or you hit up happy hour with friends and decompress by downing some cocktails.

As painful and difficult as it sounds, your hustle shouldn’t stop when you punch out of work. Whether you like your job or not, you need to continue your hustle after hours if you are committed to making an impact.

It’s your off-hours lifestyle that determines your success during your business hours.

Here are the 5 ways I am making sure that what I do after work reflects my hunger for success in all aspects of life.


1. Creating vs consuming.

We browse Instagram and Facebook for entertainment and escapism. Be selective in the content you consume and use it to educate yourself. Instead of scrolling through my News Feed, I have decided to read books on the Kindle App. I’m educating myself during my commute, on elevators, in the doctor’s waiting room, and in a Lyft. I use this to fuel my creativity, generate ideas, and find inspiration.

There’s nothing wrong with consuming content but I think you should shift the weight in creation’s favor. Create more than you consume.

I use creationism as my escapism. In fact, I’m not creating, I’m documenting. Thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk, I’ve embarked on a journey to become a better version of myself. I am using my blog to document my journey of self-improvement.

The byproduct of my self-improvement journey is that as I become a better person, I become better in business – I improve my ability to communicate, prioritize, and develop relationships.

2. Learning new skills.

One time when I was interviewing for a job, I told the hiring manager about a marketing certification I had previously attained outside of work. Since I was selling marketing analytics software, this certification helped me connect better with marketers. The hiring manager was shockingly impressed. Skills aside, going the extra length shows people your dedication and commitment to success.

The workplace is constantly changing. Jobs are being outsourced or replaced by robots. Simple tasks are being automated by software.

Technology is rapidly evolving every day. The iPhone you bought yesterday will be out of date in six months.

The question is—how are you using changes in technology and the workplace to improve your stock? Employees are required to wear several hats and this is going to require people to learn new skills.

Thankfully, technology is making it easier to learn technology. Udemy, Udacity, and YouTube make it simple for us to learn new skills. Even Harvard is offering free courses. There is no excuse not to increase your value… it just requires a trade-off of your time. Do you go to happy hour? … or take those two hours to learn Python. Do you watch four straight episodes of Westworld? … or use that time to become a social media master.

3. Explore your hobbies.

These are the things that really light you up. This is the outlet that gives you clarity on the things that are most important to you.

I love going for walks. I’ll listen to music, podcasts or TED Talks and wander the Seattle neighborhoods for hours. When I check back in with reality, I’m crystal clear on the things that are important to me. I’ll then get to work on those things that get me closer to my goals.

4. Mind the people around you.

The garbage in, garbage out concept can also apply to the people you surround yourself with.

It’s difficult letting go of people that don’t bring you up. Your friends might be reliable and attentive, but if you’re looking to level up then you might have to distance yourself from them and find others who have similar goals.

Napoleon Hill discussed in his book, Think and Grow Rich, the mastermind group. A mastermind group is a group of people who have ambitious goals. The group members work together to encourage, support and carry out their goals.

There are meetups, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups and forums to help you connect with other like-minded people.

5. Health.

Mind, body, soul, and relationships. What are you doing to fuel your mind? Are you exercising and eating healthy food to keep your body in optimal shape? Do you have a spiritual practice to keep you centered? Are you spending time with loved ones?

After all, taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do to keep you on your game during business hours. I’ve even incorporated off-hour practices into my business life. The two practices I’ve implemented in are mid-morning meditations (three minutes at my desk) and an afternoon walk (10-15 minutes). This way, in the midst of a chaotic work day, I can take a few moments to ground myself, then re-engage into my work.

Back to you.

With all this being said, what are you doing outside of work to set yourself up for success at work?

Your dedication to the hustle outside of normal business hours is what’ll propel you forward at work. I get cases of FOMO on Friday nights when I’m at home honing my craft while my friends are out partying. While they do boozy brunches the following morning, I’m at the gym working on my body so that’s it’s ready for the mental gauntlet I put it through.

This is not going to be easy. Punching in at 9 and punching out at 5 is not enough. It will take discipline, persistence, and sacrifice. When you’re invited to a happy hour, or an epic bar crawl, you’ll have to look deep inside yourself and make a tough choice.

How committed to success are you?