Investing time in yourself is way better than investing money into something or someone else. When you invest in yourself and build valuable skill sets, you will never have to worry about unemployment again. If you were to strip Bill Gates of his assets and put him out on the street, he’d be back to earning a comfortable income in about a week. Why? Because he has tons of human capital.
Sometimes the stress of life (bills, cleaning, children, etc.) can really start to take a toll on us, and it’s unfortunate. After sleeping and work, we only get about 8 hours a day to spend on other activities. You should utilize this free time by doing things you truly enjoy and also benefit you (killing two birds with one stone). To help get you started, I’ve listed a few of my favorite ideas below.
Learn a new language
I could go on all day about the benefits of learning a new language, but I’ll spare you the details. Just keep in mind that it’s going to help you, both personally and financially, if you do. I’ve been working on my Spanish for a while now, and I don’t regret it for a moment. There are HUNDREDS of resources for you out there, find one. Personally, I use YouTube, it’s free and I can do it whenever I want. Podcasts are also very useful.
When was the last time you even picked up a book? If you’re like most people today, it’s been months or even years. I know, growing up, I always saw my grandfather reading books, and always wondered why he was so cultured. They offer a chance to explore something you’re unfamiliar with, dive deeply into a fantasy or learn something new. Books are one of my favorite ways to relieve stress; just another benefit to think about.
Go back to school (or participate in webinars and workshops)
I know, school is time-consuming and expensive. However, no matter your age you can still go back. Financial aid programs are available to most people, and there are thousands of scholarships. Now that you can’t come up with financial excuses, think about time. There are so many online colleges today that offer full 4 year programs that you can take advantage of. If you’re not ready for that, consider workshops (resume building, French cuisine, parenting, etc.) and webinars that will really help you develop your skills.
Write a book
Now, this is something you should strongly consider doing before you die. I only recently started working on mine. And by working on, I mean I have a few ideas. Seriously, if you’re looking for a way to invest your time, write something that you want to share. It could be anything, and that’s what’s great about it. Even if you never get published, you created something! If you’re not ready for that, think about creating a blog. Just write about your cat or your crazy neighbors. This will develop your writing skills and give you a public voice.
You don’t need to get on the next plane to Haiti, but you could at least go spend a weekend camping. Maybe you’ve never gone out for Mexican food, and know of a local place your friends have been talking about. Spending some time in a place you’re unfamiliar with will give you a chance to explore new cultures, learn new skills (like making a camp fire), and will get you away from your daily life. Not to say our daily lives are terrible, but getting out never hurts.
Discuss things you don’t agree with
I love developing new ideas. In fact, my political ideology has completely shifted in the past three years because I’ve been paying attention. Spend some time seeing things from someone else’s view. Craigslist has a ‘rants and raves’ section that is open to dialogues about just about anything. Quora is another great resource to learn new things and discuss differing viewpoints with others who care. Who knows, you might switch someone to your point of view.
I’m not going to go on and on about getting in shape, but if it’s something you’ve been thinking about, wait no more, get going. PlanetFitness is just about everywhere in the US and costs $10 a month. If you’re not into the gym, grab yourself a yoga video — stress relief and a fit body in no time.
I never used to see the point in volunteering my time, but it’s benefited me greatly. First, it looks wonderful on a resume. Second, you’re helping your community. Third, you can make industry contacts who can offer references, jobs, and ideas. Most importantly though, it really helps you learn a new skill.
I was never really the best artist, and art classes used to stress me out. That’s alright though, I found my comfort zone in music. It’s not something I still practice, but it was a lot of fun. There are tons of things you can partake in or create, the only limit is your imagination. Good luck!