I’m finally unemployed, or should I say, self-employed. Floating. Freelancing. Seeking new opportunities. All of the above. I’m enjoying some personal time while dusting off old projects, plans, and goals.
But what exactly should I do with all this new-found time? Where is my energy best spent? What specific things should I be thinking about, working on, or developing? There are so many ways to spend time it can be overwhelming.
I’ve witnessed plenty of friends go through this process. It seems we either frantically try to do a million things while totally freaking out, or slump into the couch with a beer and waste a million hours blocking out our to-do lists. It can be pretty hard to decide what to do. So I made a list of 10 things to do while unemployed in Taipei.
1 - Work on your website
When we are busy helping clients with THEIR websites, our own websites go into total decay. We simply struggle to find the time to keep them up-to-date, or worse, to create one for ourselves in the first place. It may be all about social media these days, but personal websites are more important than ever before.
If you don’t have a website, you need to build one immediately. If you do have one, it needs to be sharp, and that takes a LOT of continuous work. By “continuous work” I mean: a website is never actually “finished.” Trust me. I’ve built and maintained many websites and none of them are ever finished or where I ultimately “want” them to be. Because things are always changing. In my experience, people who claim their site is “done” have horrible websites that were last updated years ago. Things have changed and websites need monthly, even weekly updating. Being unemployed is the perfect time to get to work on it.
2 - Exercise
Studies all show that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Many of us, while employed get so caught up in our work that we sacrifice our health to the point we feel there is no easy return. And perhaps there isn’t. But unfortunately, many of us choose to go into a lazy slump when we become unemployed—sitting on the couch, watching Netflix, eating junk food, and drinking. So our health goes from bad to worse.
Being unemployed is actually the perfect time to get back in shape. It’s simple really. Go for some walks. Go for a swim. Get that bike out, pump up the flat-tires and go for a ride. Or finally, take that yoga class you’ve been talking about doing for the last three years. (I could help you with this!) You will feel better. You will think more clearly. It’s a great investment of your time.
3 - Read a book
Reading is not only a great way to expand knowledge and vocabulary—helping us excel in our exciting new future—but it’s a proven way to reduce stress, improve memory, strengthen analytical skills, and improve focus and concentration. Oh, and it can be fun and enjoyable as well.
Here are three of my all-time favorite reads:
4 - Go on a trip
Being unemployed is the perfect time to travel! It’s something we always wish we had more time for. Traveling doesn’t need to be expensive. I just spent a week in Bali at a 3-star hotel with a fancy pool in Ubud. It only cost me $100US for the entire week! That included breakfast with coffee and tea and free water!
Traveling does more than give you a vacation. It detoxes and de-stresses you—putting you in fresh place to start anew. Traveling also helps you get creative, exposes you to new ideas and new people, and helps you broaden your world-view. ALL extremely marketable traits in the new “digitally connected” world—so I hear.
5 - Connect with your family
I recently took a trip back to the US to visit my family. It had been over 5 years! That’s a long time. Too long! While Taipei is my home, it’s far away from my family. Working a full-time job makes it difficult to go back. Unemployment gives us that extra time to connect with family and spend some quality time together. During my trip home we all decided to go to a yoga festival together—as a way to “check-out” of our normal day-to-day lives. (You can read about this on Asana Seekers if you’d like.) It was a LOT of fun and a great way to do something really different together as a family. Unemployment is the perfect time for this!
6 - Write
I might not be the “best” writer. I know my flaws. This article probably has plenty of them. But I’m not the only one by a long shot. There’s a reason we have things like auto spell corrector and Grammarly. But none of that really matters. I’ve been writing for years. In 2009 I took a whole year off of work to travel and wrote a blog post every week! It wasn’t easy, but it does get easier the more you do it. It’s an exercise.
The future continues to be all about content, which makes writing a top skill that companies are seeking. If your job wasn’t writing related, being unemployed is the perfect time to start practicing it. I say practice because that’s what it is. Too many of us think we need to sit down and write a novel or write something really deep and meaningful. Nah. Just need to write. It’s why I’m writing this article right now. And it’s why I’ll be looking it over later and fixing all the mistakes. forget about pressures to be “good” or do it “right.” It just doesn’t matter.
Writing is important because it helps us learn to communicate more effectively. Writing will inspire you and generate new ideas in your mind. Writing will make you happier. Writing will help you understand more about yourself, who you are, and what you want out of life. Writing is a great way to spend your time while unemployed because it could, in fact, lead to employment. Almost EVERY company is in desperate need of a good writer.
7 - Join, or create, some groups
Being unemployed is a great time to connect with new people or seek out a community that share’s your interests. It’s so easy these days. There are Facebook groups, Meetup groups, Linkedin groups, and more. Each one of these places is crawling with groups catering to specific interests in activities, skills, work, philosophies, and interests. What’s even better is that if you can’t find one you like, you can just create one of your own. I’ve created groups for yoga, learning Chinese, for Acroyoga Jams, for seeking out Chinese tutors in Taipei, and even for sharing Kombucha information. They all served a purpose for connecting with others. Being unemployed is the perfect time to join and create some new groups!
8 - Create a podcast!
I always secretly wanted to have my own podcast. I suspect I’m not the only one. The thing is, creating a podcast isn’t that hard. Just open up the audio app on your phone and hit record. Say something. Upload it to your website. Boom, you’ve got a podcast. That’s what I did anyway. It’s not the BEST podcast, but it’s MY podcast and that feels pretty good.
Most of us don’t do things we want to do because of some crazy idea that those things need to be perfect. That’s bullshit. Nobody is perfect, and NOT doing things because they aren’t as “good” as what someone else is doing is the perfect way to never actually GET good at what we want to do. If you always wanted to make a podcast, and are unemployed—ow is the perfect time to do it. You have everything you need. Go for it!
9 - Cook
A lot of us don’t feel we have time to cook when we are working. We’re too tired. Being unemployed is the perfect time to get cooking! Cooking can be a lot of fun. I love it. And it rewards us with something delicious to eat. Cooking also saves a lot of money, something that is a concern to us unemployed folks. Cooking is a great way to make friends too. Everyone likes the person who cooks. Don’t know what to cook? Go to the library. They have tons of cookbooks you can borrow for free.
Don’t want to cook food? Get into beverage creation instead. Maybe coffee is your thing. Or tea. Or beer. I personally love to craft Kombucha—a very healthy, pro-biotic fermented tea—and sell it to many of my friends whose purchases allow me to continue exploring and improving what I do.
10 - Do nothing
Most of us are doing so much all the time, that we never stop to relax and simply check out of everything in our lives. Doing nothing is a healthy practice on its own, but it’s hard for many of us to genuinely do. You can “do nothing” by practicing meditation, or by going to the beach and laying on the sand and taking a nap, or by going to the park and just sitting on a bench for a few hours. Doing nothing can actually make you more productive, and help you become a kinder, more self-aware person. Being unemployed is the perfect time to just do nothing for a while!