While working an office job, I often realize that I’m not getting the satisfying feeling of completing something. I can’t quantify how much work I’m getting done and how well I’m doing it. I rarely get to see the finished product of my work.
Most office jobs are like this. We have endless projects going on at any given time, yet they never really seem to end. And when they are complete, we send them on to our bosses and never see the result.
This can be really frustrating. I think it is human nature to want to create and build things. If we aren’t doing this, we feel like we are just floating by. I hate the feeling of floating by.
The best days at my job are the days that I have to rebuild a report in Excel. It’s simple work, but I like putting together all of the formulas, setting the formats, and building huge financial reports and tools. The days that I create something new are the best days.
Unfortunately, most of the time I’m just fixing minor problems or reviewing numbers or simply just surfing the net. All of this just feels like I’m wasting my time.
I think we all need side projects and hobbies. These can be projects that you work on at the office or at home. Writing “Surviving the Cubicle” is one of my side projects. Every time I write out a post I have the satisfying feeling of completing something. It makes me feel productive. Someday, I’d like to put this all into a book and publish it.
I also want to start making my own wine. I lift weights. I cook my own meals. I make my own beef jerky. I think we all need these side projects to give us the feeling of completing something, working with our hands, and helping people.
I’ve realized that my job doesn’t give me that feeling of producing something, but the money I make allows me to pay for these side projects and hobbies.
Remember when you were a kid and you would wake up at the crack of dawn to do something you were excited about? That excitement is what I’m looking for. I want something that I can work on whenever I have spare time. I want it to be something that I can’t wait to start first thing in the morning or first thing when I get home from work.
A lot of us try to fulfill this drive to be productive with things like watching TV and playing video games. I’m guilty of it too. I can spend 8 hours playing PS3 any day of the week. I often find myself just sitting in front of the TV watching the same dumb shows over and over again. These things are entertaining, but not productive. They leave us feeling empty at the end.
I find that on the days where I don’t do anything after work, I feel like the evening flies by. Then the next morning it’s really hard to get out of bed and go to work. When I work on something like this blog, cook a good meal, or lift weights I feel like I’ve done something with my day.
I think we need to make our side projects the focus of our day instead of our jobs. By all means, do your job well, but make sure that it’s not your whole life.
Here’s a list of possibly side projects/hobbies to try out:
– Wine Making
– Auto Maintenance
– Bike Maintenance
– Pick up a sport like kickball, softball, volleyball, soccer, basketball, etc.
– Martial Arts
– Shooting Guns/Weapon Maintenance
– Play an Instrument
– Bird Watching
– Building Models
– Building Furniture
– Learn a Language
There are thousands more out there. Leave your side project/hobby idea in the comments.