Balancing Career and Adventure
I live for adventure. Playing outdoors is a vital part of my soul that needs to be fueled. Whether it's a bike ride before work or an entire week in the backcountry, I wouldn't be "me" if I weren't constantly seeking the thrills of nature.
Here's the catch: I also love developing my career. If there's someone who can be a badass on the mountain and also in the office - I aim for that someone to be me.
So how does one balance a life of adventure with a full-time career? First thing's first: it doesn't require part-time work or a sabbatical from your everyday life. And it doesn't even require a job in the outdoor/adventure industry!
Though it's an ongoing challenge to maintain the balance, I've fine-tuned a few tricks to make it easier. Here's my advice for achieving life experience alongside career experience.
10 Tips for Balancing a Career and Adventure
1. Draft a Master Plan
Decide what you want and write it down. List all of the adventures you'd like to make this year and next. These should include before/after work outings, weekend excursions, and even those bucket-list trips to foreign countries. The act of writing all this down (I like to use Evernote) helps me prioritize the adventures that are most important to me.
2. Make the Time
Less things will get in the way if you reserve adventure time on your calendar. I learned this lesson when I wanted to ride my road bike more often before work. I kept making excuses and telling myself that my job was more important (when, realistically, all I needed to do was wake up an hour earlier).
I started gradually by calendaring my Wednesday mornings 5:30am-7:30am, and then eventually added Friday mornings too. Now I'm riding around 60-80 miles a week because I "make the time" and integrate this new source of adventure into my weekly routine.
The same approach can be used for other outdoor workouts, weekend trips, or destination travels. Block out your adventure time and protect it from competing forces.
3. Do the Prep
Make it easy on yourself when it's time to hit the road. This may require you to stay up 30 minutes later after a long day at work, but it will help you enjoy the time you've set aside for adventure. Here are some easy tactics that work for me:
- Lay out your clothes the night before if you're waking up early.
- Pack for the weekend on Thursday night instead of Friday.
- Prep any food you may need for your get-away.
- Research a new destination ahead of time so that you're not stuck on your phone while traveling. I like to read blogs, yelp restaurants, and make an itinerary if I'm going somewhere new.
4. Start with Accessible Options
It's okay to start with the low-hanging fruit if you're an extremely busy person. Choose one adventurous activity for next weekend. Find an easy day-trip outside of your city, or ask a friend to take you on their favorite hike. Perfecting the art of "micro-adventures" is a great way to add more excitement to your week.
5. Save your Money: Budget for Travel/Gear
More budgeting = more adventure. Save your money! Choosing to forego certain luxuries has helped me fund some of the best trips of my life.
These preferences are completely different for everyone, but I choose to cook at home most nights and not throw money at alcohol or manicures. Instead, I put that money into ski gear or flights to my bucket list destinations. Prioritize how you spend your money and budget for your goals!
6. Seek Friends & Community who Love Adventure
Scheming up fun adventures is a whole lot easier when your friends think of them for you. Seek a community that takes part in the same activities you love. Adventurous friends not only extend invites - they can help you improve at outdoor sports or travel smarter.
7. Have Friends & Family Hold You Accountable
Your friends & family can hold you accountable too. Let them know you're trying to commit more time to a certain sport or activity outside of work. The encouragement you receive from loved-ones will help you stick to your adventure plans.
8. Work Efficiently
Educate yourself on working efficiently and saving yourself time. Tools that help you complete tasks faster might rescue you from that occasional work overflow on Sunday night. I'm a huge fan of time-saving apps I find on Product Hunt. I'm also OCD about blocking out project time on my work calendar in between meetings to focus my attention.
9. Work Remotely
Working remotely, or "WFH" one day a week and winning back that commute time can open up a whole new set of adventures for before or after work.
10. Encourage Adventure in your Workplace
Lastly, encouraging adventure in your workplace will help your manager & coworkers respect your plans. Start a Slack channel or a club for your favorite adventure sport. I believe that less judgement manifests in workplaces where teammates support a fulfilling life outside of work.
Have any more tips? Share your work/life balance wisdom in the comments below!