Timothy Ferriss calls this Filling The Void. When you have your passive income (muses) setup, left your old 9-5 job and you basically no longer have to work, what do you do?
I get the “But I love my job…” thing a lot – most of the time people find it difficult to actually think outside of what the society “expects of you”.
My own journey towards a 4 hour workweek has certainly also added some learning points and let me start out by saying that the goal is not a four hour workweek in itself! My goal is more to be able to do and work with whatever I’m passionate about. This means that I can spend time with my family, work on projects I find interesting and basically have the opportunity to “select my own battles”.
As it looks right now, I really only have to work (as an IT consultant working for hours) 3-4 months next year which is even better than this year where I probably end up working 6 months.
So what did I learn about myself in the progress? This post as you might already have noticed, is pretty much about me and my journey, you might be able to find some stuff in there that you can use in your own journey, or you might just find it a little too much of an ego post. Either way, I would love to get you input on how you would live you life if/when you wouldn’t have to work!
So back on track… What I’ve learned from not having to work for six months this year!
1 – I need to know what to do before I do it
Sounds basic right? Well… when I’m out working as a consultant I seldom take time out to think about what I’ll do when I don’t have to work, so once I don’t have to work I spent the first week trying to figure out what I should do the next couple of months. A trip to our house in Thailand is of course planned months in advance, but I’m really bad at planning what to do there before we arrive (I’m generally really bad at planning). So I’m basically going there without a plan for when to spend time with the family and what to of my own projects I want to work on (and when). My usually plan is “I figure it out when I get there”.
The problem for me with this approach is that I didn’t have an overall strategy for what I wanted to get done, so while I might have worked on a few projects, I stretched my self over too many projects that for the most part is not really aligned with my overall strategy. Guess that I fell for the “shiny objects syndrom”. People said that this and that was working for them, so I thought I would give it a try. The problem was that this was basically stuff that I wasn’t very passionate about, so it quickly lost focus (such as my niche site on baby sleep). I did it because it didn’t really take much time for me and I figured that I had the time (to do it… there is also the whole “how the hell do I get traffic” thing).
So I’ve realized that
- I need to focus on my overall strategy and make sure that my projects are all aligned with this.
- I need to be passionate about the projects I’m doing in order to make sure that I will actually keep a focus on them.
2 – I should charge for my time
This probably sounds a bit odd. I am most certainly charging for my time when I’m working as an IT consultant, but because I’ve been really passionate about helping other people work less and follow their own passions, I haven’t charged anything for the coaching session I’ve done.
I just love trying to help people, so I covered the coaching in under my “free time”. Heck I thought, I don’t need to make any money on this. And while that is true that I do not *need* to make money, I still feel that I provide value. Also people are more likely to be are bit more serious about the whole thing if they need to pay for the advice.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still send me an email through my contact form and I will answer personally (no virtual assistants there) – but I probably won’t do the indepth analysis of your business or do Skype sessions for free.
I’ve also thought about how I can get my message out and help an even bigger crowd, and since I don’t feel that 1 on 1 sessions scale that well (remember I’m trying to cut down on working for hours), I’m currently trying to empty my head into a structured online coaching program – but I will probably write more about this in future posts. If you would be interested in a structured coaching program that helped you live a “four hour workweek” be sure to sign up for my newsletter as my regular readers will be the first to know of this when it launches.
3 – Spending Time With The Family Is Awesome
It is a priveledge to be able to spend months at a time together with my family. Normally you just get to spend one or perhaps two weeks of vacation together and then you normally don’t even get to “stress down”. The months we spend this winter in Thailand gave us an opportunity as a family that I wouldn’t have traded for anything in the world.
When that’s said, I sometimes move out of the house (when we’re in Denmark that is) in the daytime in order to be able to focus on specific projects. When you need to get something done on a project you (well I do at least) really need several hours of undisturbed hours which can be difficult if I’m just sitting in the “home office”.
You also get a little weird when you just sit in front of a computer wearing only tights, haven’t shaved for a week and can’t remember when you showered the last time :).
Lately I’ve been working with getting more focus and integrating long term strategy into my work. This means abandoning a few projects that are really just time wasters. They could perhaps generate money over time, but there are other projects I’d rather work on and I’m more passionate about and need the focus. After the Experts Academy I’ve been really inspired to do something about the online coaching program and this will take a lot of my time, energy and focus, so other projects will need to be left behind.
So when my current consultancy gig ends here in October, I feel I have a strategy for what I want to do. Also I’m going to be a father (for the second time – yeah) in January to a little baby boy, so the family is also high on the priority list.
Photo credit: Karen Brazier