Updated: April 4, 2020
When colleagues ask me what am I busy with these days, I always answer with work stuff. The daily grind of giving money advice and creating financial plans to clients, doing speaking engagements, and managing my businesses.
However, my answer becomes a bit different when friends ask me the same question. I normally start with a book I’m currently reading, or personal projects I’m doing, or some new skill I’ve been trying to learn.
Do you see the difference?
With colleagues, my reply is what I’m doing during my “working hours”. But with friends, I answer with what I do during my free time. I wasn’t actually aware of this, until a friend pointed it out to me.
I was having coffee with him when he asked me that question, and I answered the way I do with friends. Then suddenly, a colleague saw me in the cafe, said “Hi”, and stayed to chat for a few minutes.
My colleague asked me the same question, and I replied with, as you already know – work stuff. And when he left, that’s when my friend shared his observation.
It could be considered trivial, and I probably don’t need to explain to you why I answer that way. But it made me realize one thing… the things I do during my free time affects what will keep me busy in the future during my work time.
What do I mean by this? Here’s an imagined conversation if a colleague and a friend would ask me what am I busy with during different years.
What are you busy with these days?
To a colleague: “I’m busy with my freelancing work. I’m doing a software development project for this school.”
To a friend: “I’m studying how a computer shop works. I’m thinking it might be a good business to put up. I need to have a more regular source of income than freelancing.”
To a colleague: “I’m busy with managing my computer shop. There’s a lot of competition these days.”
To a friend: “I don’t go out much because I’m always at the computer shop. But I recently started a personal finance, business, and investments blog. That’s been keeping me really busy. And I’m learning all this Web 2.0, social media, and SEO stuff online.”
To a colleague: “Aside from managing my businesses and working as a Registered Financial Planner, I’ve also been doing speaking engagements. Mostly about financial literacy, blogging, and digital marketing.”
To a friend: “I’ve recently been introduced to the local tech startup community and have been attending a lot of their meetups. Honestly, it’s refreshing to talk to and learn from new people. First time to hear about this Bitcoin thing, Blockchain Technology is interesting!”
To a colleague: “Just the usual stuff. What’s probably new is I’ve been trying to grow a couple of tech startups that I co-founded. We’re actually looking into having an ICO to raise funds.”
What are you busy with during your free time these days?
No, I’m not this superhuman person who don’t watch movies or take vacations. I also do all the usual stuff that everyone does during their free time, which includes sleeping all day during weekends in some cases.
However, I’m not the type of person who can just do “nothing” outside of work, all the time. I’ve developed this appetite to explore new stuff once, meet new people, and learn new things. And it has done me good.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is you should use your free time wisely. Because what you do in your free time can determine where you’ll be in the future.
If you don’t do anything productive during your free time once in awhile, then years will pass and you’ll realize your life hasn’t changed much. That it was just a cycle of work and play, without personal growth.
So, ask yourself today, what are you busy with during your free time these days?
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