You’re probably already aware of what being a remote worker can help you save: money, hassle, health, and most importantly, time.
Remote work saves you that most precious of commodities—and the valuable time that you’re getting back could be invested very wisely. Think of the bucket list items you might’ve dreamed about back in college, when your life was a blank canvas. What were you going to do? Who were you going to be? Where were you going to go?
Since you’ll be saving time as a remote worker, here are several ways you can reinvest that time in yourself and those you care most about:
1. Learn a new language.
Every day, an app pings me at 10 a.m. Every day, I complete at least two exercises that equate to brain gymnastics. This happens after coffee, of course. The result: my vocabulary improves. I retain more, and feel less self-conscious speaking. (Fluency will come with lots of practice over a longer period of time.) Not only is language study keeping my mind sharp, warding off possible memory issues down the road, it’s revealing the nuances of another culture to me, and allowing me to more closely examine my own.
2. Write that book.
You’ve been waiting years to write it. Someday you’ll start telling your story. Just after you get past this next challenge in your life, of course. Whether it’s purely fiction or a vivid memoir, your book could be coming together, page-by-page, on a daily basis. Making progress will be its own reward; knowing you haven’t put off one of the most meaningful goals in your life will drive you forward. What are you waiting for? Seize the moments you’d otherwise spend in traffic and capture them in print.
3. Make memories with loved ones.
The moments you’ll remember years from now probably aren’t the ones spent watching Netflix. (It’s a pity.) Your kids only get one childhood. Your parents aren’t getting any younger. A flexible role can put you in the driver’s seat—for soccer games, road trips, and much more. Put the smartphone in your pocket or purse and revel in their company. Explore your neighborhood or city together; set out with no agenda other than to enjoy yourselves. Resist the urge to stay in on a weeknight or turn down an invitation from friends or family.
4. Plan your dream trip.
Some people never go where they’re longing to, and it doesn’t always depend upon money. Americans have fewer vacation days than most of the working world; it stands to reason that many become consumed by appointments and events. As a remote worker, however, you don’t have to request time off of work to travel. As long as you deliver on time, you can satisfy your wanderlust. So rent the RV and plot the course across the country; get the passport and visas, and head off to an exotic locale. Your work can come along for the ride, and your future self will thank you.
5. Conquer your fitness goals.
File this one under “No Excuses.” Remote worker bonus time enables all of us to actually accomplish those important things we resolve to do at New Year’s. Consider picking up a gym membership, a personal trainer, or a running buddy. Then set your sights on an endpoint—a clothing size, a strength level, a farther distance—and workout by workout, edge ever closer to it. You’ll marvel at your own resilience and determination, now that you have more hours in the day.
6. Keep your skills sharp.
Technology is rapidly changing so many professions; who really is able to keep up these days? While you won’t be able to read all of the latest articles, you will have an advantage in staying up-to-date on your field. Schedule time for your own professional development and take in a relevant industry webinar, Slideshare presentation, white paper, or case study. Take notes so you can easily recall key points, and share the most worthwhile materials with your colleagues. Remember: the skills you acquire today could help you advance in your career.
7. Give back.
In the past, working professionals would often look toward spending their retirement in a mix of leisure activities and community service. With more flexibility, you can support others through mentorship, volunteering, or joining civic groups now, while you’re still employed. Donate your time by lending your expertise to worthy organizations that will benefit greatly from your insights. In the process, you’ll build a community and make the world around you a little bit better through your contributions.