How to Find What to Do Next

One of the best ways to figure out what to do next in life is by doing something completely new for an afternoon or evening of fun. I’ve always been told that jumping out of your usual routine is one of the clearest ways to go about seeing how your routine can change. By seeing new people, trying a new activity or attending a new class, your creativity can be jogged, allowing for ideas, inspiration and motivation to flow. But how do you go about finding those new activities?

Simply by helping someone new, you can flip the switch on how you view yourself.

Simply by helping someone new, you can flip the switch on how you view yourself.

I ask that without a clear answer. Finding new things to do, when we’re all a product of what we see and hear in our life, is not easy. But it’s important to take these opportunities. For instance, since I’m a journalist, I talk to a number of other journalists on a continual basis. We discuss what’s going on in the news, as well as the inside baseball at magazines and blogs that we have some knowledge about. And that’s how contacts are built. But it’s also how we get stuck in the loop of thinking we’re not rising up the ranks fast enough, not bringing in enough cash, not achieving enough. It’s one reason, we try to stick to our old routine with even more vigor.

What, however, do people outside of your area of expertise think or hope for or expect to achieve at this point in their lives? Some may have expected a whole lot more than me. My expectations for my career at this point is going to vary greatly from a banker, just due to the nature of the business. A banker may have had my salary when he first joined the firm out of college. If he’s in the business to solely make money, then he should have far more of it than I at this point in our careers.

That said, my career will also vary greatly from the single mother with two kids who lost her husband when he joined the Army and fought overseas. That’s perspective, though, that you need to see and hear. It allows us to get out of the fog that our own careers hold us in. It shows us that we have success in our life. And provides ideas how to grow that success in a healthy style.

And while those two examples, the banker and the mother are extremes, there’s a whole bunch of people in the middle of those vastly different expectations. And these are the people we talk to when we try something completely new. Something out of the ordinary, like volunteering with a Habitat for Humanity or going to a seminar that’s about hacking your brain through mobile tools could give you a chance to meet other individuals interested in a similar topic, but that work in all sorts of fields.

For me, by meeting more people outside of my profession, I actually compare myself to other people inside my profession much less often. By seeing that perspective, I’ve actually improved my happiness and my willingness to focus on what I want to do, because I see others who want me to focus on that topic. It’s empowering and that’s coming from someone who is a life-long introvert.

So back to the original question: how do you find new ways to see your city, or come up with ideas to meet new people? I’ve offered a list of a few sites that can help with the logistics of finding these ideas. The other side of this, is that you need to start saying ‘yes’ to the opportunities when they arise. It’s 10% finding the different options in your area and 90% commitment. But if you’re willing to commit, then you will find your eyes open at the possibilities.

Scout.MeIt’s a search engine with the sole hope to find something for you to do. I really like how you can narrow your search down with this solution, as well.

SpotOn.ItThis is a relatively new one for me. It links to your calendar, and gives options based on your interests that fit within your free time. It’s a great tool for those that keep an up-to-date calendar, but also for those that don’t, yet, still want to see some options in the area.

MeetUpAn oldie, but goodie. This is particularly great if you know you want to see how other professions work. You can meet, let’s say, graphic designers, learn about their business and see their profession from their perspective.

VolunteerMatch.org/Idealist.orgUnfortunately, on the volunteering side, it’s more difficult to find options. But between these two sites, you should be able to find a fun, insightful opportunity.

What do you use to find a new event to help you break out of the routine?

photo by: Ed Yourdon
Posted in Livelihood Tagged with: , , ,

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