Filling the void after you leave your office job

You know that feeling you got back in school, during the summer holidays? Classes were done and you had several long months in front of you – and you had no idea how to fill them.

That’s kind of what it’s like when you leave your office job to go self-employed. Your old routine goes out the window and you’re left figuring out a new one.

Recently I’ve only been taking on client work for about 50% of my work time, so I’m left with quite a few hours to play with.

I’ve learned the hard way that having a lot of space in your life is all the more reason to get structure in place. Otherwise you may well be faced with a whopper of an existential crisis to fill the emptiness.

A look inside my mind on quiet Tuesday afternoons:

If my life feels empty without work in, what on earth does that mean?

What work do I really want to be doing to fill my time?

What does “work” mean to me now?

HELP: what if my identity was my job?

Yeah, I got a glimpse of existentialism after leaving my job.

The big question is: how do you actually want to be spending your time, if you can do essentially anything you want?

What do you want to do with life? How are you making a living? What are you fitting around that, if it doesn’t require 8+ hours every day? (Spoiler: work doesn’t need to take up all your time).

Once you know what you want to do, it’s about setting the structure and finding the discipline to focus on that, whatever it is.

Between 9 to 5 on most workdays, I’m writing, building, or creating something. Sometimes it’s client work, other times it might be a travel article, working on a book, or a business idea.

I love the variety, and most of it is what I’d love to be doing anyway. But I still need it to feel like work; that it’s something I have to sit down and focus on. I need to have a project and a purpose. I want goals to work towards and get me up on grey and miserable winter mornings.

It’s about making sure you wake up with that focus and fire in your belly – and then making it happen.

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