1. Learn to meditate.
Studies show that meditation or practicing mindfulness is an important and helpful to your brain, body and wellbeing. Just as important as working out your body, taking time to focus on the mind is time well spent.
It’ll help your career because it’s a good way to centre the mind, to ensure you’re focusing on what matters. Many, MANY successful people meditate; it’s one of the secrets that few people talk about, but a lot of people practice.
2. Finally finish that book you’ve been reading.
The last time I had an immense amount of time on my hands, I started reading a lot. When I finished University, I didn’t want a regular “job,” so I took a lot of time for myself. Writing, running and reading were all a part of a daily routine that created some structure in a lost boy’s world. Start here: 50 of my Favourite Books.
Don’t like to read? Get your first book for free on Audible and start listening to books. Try Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers on there, it’s a book you won’t want to stop listening to!
Books help your career because they are your guides from the past. The most untapped resource is learning from those who came before us. Books are invaluable to the learning mind.
3. Start running.
Sign up for a half marathon later in the year! When I was done University, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I really thought running a half marathon was almost impossible. Why not sign up and do it!
Running has a lot of proven science behind how it helps the body and mind. Not just running – physical activity is comparable to taking Zoloft for depression. So yeah, a good reason to start running daily.
If you don’t know why staying active will help your professional career, then you need to watch:
4. Learn a new subject.
It shouldn’t take a pandemic to start learning new things, but what a great excuse to start! If you don’t know where to begin, I put 50 classes together that I would take online for free.
The best business folks are always learning. Be it from books, people or classes from the websites listed above. Adding a new skillset on your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV never hurts. Getting in the habit of doing it regularly creates a way for you to stand out (in a good way) among your peers.
5. Create the ultimate cookie or brownies!
(My favourite recipe):
You may not think baking can help your career. If this is you, I’m sorry. I disagree with you. In a world of everything digital and everything delivered to your doorstep, it’s difficult to do things yourself these days. Baking takes patience, organization, planning, strategizing, testing, acquiring feedback (if you’re good) and so much more. I like to think of baking and cooking as brilliant teachers in the fast paced, online world.
Bake more. Test more recipes. Get used to providing food for others. It’s a great habit to get into and makes you feel very fulfilled when others enjoy the fruits of your kitchen labour.
6. Start an indoor garden.
Growing plants teaches you a lot about life. Plants aren’t fast (well the ones I grow, anyways), they can’t be rushed, you can’t pay them more to grow faster. You must respect their growth cycle, you must respect what they need. Again, in a digital world, connecting with nature is very healthy. Our ancestors grew up in nature. We forget very quickly that the concrete jungle we live in doesn’t feel natural to us.
Grow plants. Take take of them. Get good at it. Last summer I had fresh basil daily, all because I rotated between 5 different basil plants on my deck. It was amazing.
7. Start journaling.
Writing can be therapeutic. When you have a lot of time to yourself, try getting your thoughts out on paper. You have no idea how powerful your mind is. Start asking it questions and write down the answers you come up with. Do it on Medium. Start a blog. Get a Wix website, start a Squarespace website. Yes, of course we want you on WordPress, but it doesn’t matter as long as you’re publishing.
Getting better at writing will help your career in almost every industry, no matter what. We can all be better writers.
8. Learn how to make bread.
Growing up, my Mom used to make bread every week. It seemed difficult, all the ingredients, the rising, the waiting, the baking, the cooling. But honestly, of all the things I bake and cook these days, bread is pretty simple. Four ingredients, five if you’re feeling lucky. But with a simple recipe, you can make an unbelievably delicious bread.
Making bread shows your body that, for an item you often take for granted in life, a lot goes into its preparation and execution.
Doing difficult things you thought weren’t possible is a great way to teach your brain that yes, in fact, old dogs can learn new tricks.