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Ask HN: What to do after the workday?
119 points by volument 39 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 109 comments
I mostly enjoy my day at work. There are people to talk to and somewhat interesting projects to work on. However, when I go back home, all I see is the home computer and the television. Yes.. I could go on with those, but I feel there's more. What is that? Please help!



Couple ideas:

* work out. I like free weights and bike riding or running for cardio. I recommend the local YMCA as these tend to be more community driven and less profit motivated pickup centers

* cook. this has several benefits. it can be challenging and relaxing while providing necessary sustenance at a price point cheaper than going out. can also be a social thing.

* take a class / learn something. it can be work related, semi work related or something else. I like the free educational videos on the webs. lately I've been getting back into math which is semi work related but in the past I have taken language classes at the local community college.

* outdoor activities or team sports. Did you have a favorite thing to do outside as a child or teen? Maybe you could take it up again or try something new. basketball, soccer (football if you are not in USA), surfing, geocaching, ultimate frisbee, bicycling, golf?

* amateur radio. getting a license is easy if you are at all technical and it opens up some doors for mucking with WIFI or LORA, SDR, and more. hams are an aging group but they are friendly, knowledgeable and desperately want their hobby to survive.

* maker projects. there are many projects already documented on the web or you can build your own. kind of amazing what one person can do with a raspberry pi, some basic electronic parts, and a bit of code.

* volunteer. so many organizations need skilled people. can you mentor people on computer skills or something else?


I have a rule of thumb. From a stress rating of 0-10, your days should ideally be 8 stress or 0.

Growth = stress + rest

The more elite people can take on a lot more stress. 0 doesn't necessarily mean watching Netflix; for me that's more stressful than playing with spreadsheets or commenting on HN.

What most people do is stick around 3-5 stress level (the comfort zone) or constantly at 6 (trying my best). It's a recipe for mediocrity as you never push yourself hard enough to improve.

If you've had a slow day at work, then push yourself. If you're not sure what to do, pick up a book. Something like this is nice to start: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19087418

You can practice typing faster. Learn keyboard shortcuts; they're probably the biggest leverage I have in programming now. Learn speed reading or how to get to 90% comprehension. These are all fun things to do, yet enough to tire you out.

But don't do this every night. Find things that actually replenish you, not some mindless semi-productive activity. I personally love playing with my kids, watching superhero movies, reading web fiction or TV tropes, or idle games that involve wikis and spreadsheets. You find your thing.

I good judge is how I feel in the morning. If I'm physically or mentally sore, I need to focus on rest that day. If I can naturally wake before 6, it's a day to push myself.


I’m not sure why you’re equating stress and growth. Surely you can grow without being stressed? In fact, that’s my preferred way! I enjoy learning new things and being challenged... to me that’s not stressful at all, but the opposite — restorative.


The book Peak Performance goes into detail on this.

Exercise is a closer analogy. You can't really lift more until you lift near your capacity. A brief session is far more impactful than long sessions of a lower weight. Short bursts at near max speed improve your stamina than an hour long walk.

Mentally it works the same way too. Sometimes growth means just thinking faster, or being able to follow a train of thought deeper.

Knowledge wise, you should be reading more difficult, information dense books, and less articles, podcasts, light books. The lighter ones I find are trivia, they don't improve your understanding of the world much, but the essays, biographies, historical books, academic journals go far.

You do need lots of rest. It's not a bad thing to be stressed out, as long as you get plenty of rest.


I think the original post conflated stress and discomfort, because they described my views pretty closely but I call it discomfort instead. I think if you’re resting, be largely comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable (in a constructive way), you’re learning.


Yeah they're synonyms as far as I'm concerned. I use stress more in the physics sense of exertion and strain, but I suppose others may link the term with incompetent managers.


Being outside a comfort zone is stressful, but it's also what makes you grow.


I cannot agree with any of this.. but I think this comes down to how you define stress. I equate stress to be a bad thing but I don't equate stress to pushing myself.

Stress for me is mainly responsibility with lack of authority. Other stress comes from anxiety.


That sounds like a 10 on the stress scale - high enough that you give up.

I think the stress level should be just high enough that you're close to giving up. It's at the point where you simply can't go any harder. You'll either improve biologically, as in your mind/body improves to meet the demands, or you find other, more effective ways to do it.


can I ask what idle games involve wikis and spreadsheets?


Which idle games doesn't? The main challenge is to try to make your numbers tick up faster, and that requires mostly math (spreadsheets) and information (wiki).


Honestly, even something like Farmville counts. I had a little spreadsheet to calculate which crop was the best for the period I wanted to leave the game. Basically all idle games are little spreadsheet games.

Deeper in, there's games like Kittens.

More complicated, there's online games like Cyber Nations. The one I've been playing for months is Soulforged, which has a complex research and crafting system: https://soulforged.net:8443/


My favorite thing: cooking. I have been the primary cook at home for 30 years but only in the past few years have I had time for anything more than what we can get on the table in 20 minutes after soccer practice.

Every once in while I get a new cookbook like "Voila! Effortless French Cookbook," "German Meals at Oma's", and "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" and then work my way through the recipes that look interesting. I have found a lot of recipes that take hours of preparation and cooking, but I have also found many that I love that I can get together in 20 minutes.

Spending some time learning how to cook is very relaxing, but it also is quite cost effective because now we very rarely go out to dinner. The best part is that the whole family actually looks forward to trying new meals together, so Friday nights have become what they should be: long hours gathered around the table talking and laughing, eating well and drinking wine by candle light.

I cherish every Friday night that the kids are home from university and appreciate even more the quiet nights that I share with my wife.


+1 for cooking. It's a perfect chance to try new cuisines, learn some new skills, it's typically cheaper than eating out too.


I had this dilemma not too long ago. You need to find your purpose in life. You're starting to feel that working for someone else just isn't giving you that satisfaction. I'm still in my early 20s, but I feel like I can relate and provide some insight. I was working at a decent job, enjoyed working with my coworkers, days went by without too much stress. I would come home everyday and wouldn't have any serious motivation to do anything productive for some reason, despite having a burning desire. I would go to sleep, wake up, and go back to work. Before I knew it, 2 years went by as I worked at that company and I was getting let go. I started looking back and began to notice that outside of work, I haven't really accomplished too much with my life. I spent about a week sitting in my apartment thinking what I was going to do with my life. Those were dark times. One day it just snapped, I decided to take a very serious plunge into the music business. Me, being in my early 20s, I made a very rash decision and drove to Atlanta and met a lot of new friends and that really broke the ice for me getting into music. I ended up staying there for a few months, and I have a finished product that I can market from that escapade. The issue was now that I was completely broke after that venture, so I ended up coming back home and got a new programming job fairly quickly and that's where I'm at right now. Nowadays, I DON'T go home immediately after work to help remedy the problem of losing all motivation to be productive. I go to the gym for about an hour every other day and then take a shower. Afterwards, I hop into a coffee shop, open my laptop and start reading like there's no tomorrow for a few hours, and then go home. The books I read are books that I know will help my business so I see it as a good investment of my time while I save money to pursue my goals outside of work.


Find clubs that play music you like. Go dance. Yes, I know you don't know how to dance and are embarrassed by it. Go shake your ass anyway, it's dark and nobody will give a shit. Do some Fortnite dances if that's all you know.


Of course there’s lots more. The world is full of stuff. If you live in a city, there should be a ton of things going on. Go to a museum. See a show. Meet up with friends. Find meetups about things you’re passionate about or interested in. Volunteer. Learn a new language.

If you’re not in a city, there are plenty of hobbies that might interest you. Anything fitness / sports. Learn to draw / paint. Take courses online. Read books. Sculpt. Build. Tinker. Cook. Mediate.

Find things that are relaxing to challenging, so you have options depending on your day.


Meditation is very fulfilling. Insight timer has a bunch of free meditations. If you don’t have a partner that’s certainly worth finding. Eating healthy plants and hiking in the woods/park are great for you and feel good. Any of your buddies from work like meditating, eating together, talking, playing card games, stuff like that? Businesses can be fun to start for the right person, especially around open source or other things that help people. Hope that helps friend, best wishes.


Get married and have kids. They'll fill up all of your free time and then some.


Little hard to just “do that.” I’m guessing the poster is single given the content of the request.

You can, however, just go out and get a dog. They can take up a lot of time while also being very rewarding. And it’s a lot cheaper.


This is the correct answer. That feeling of empty pointlessness is because the drive to have kids is not being satisfied. User "volument" here is suffering an existential crisis.

I have 12 kids. They depend on me. There is always something going on. Even the bad things have an upside of removing boredom. There is no time for television. Tomorrow, on Saturday, I will be homeschooling AP Chemistry. Three kids have to go to college classes, and six kids need to sign up for spring semester. Little ones need to learn reading and math. The baby is extra cute and fun to play with. There is grocery shopping to do, sometimes 4 carts at a time.


What if they follow your advice and it wasn't the reason? Now instead of one bored person you have several unhappy ones.

I am sure a good chunk of the fathers who are still "looking for the right pack of cigarettes" had a similar idea


This may be the wrong answer.

That feeling of empty pointlessness is because SOME drive is not being satisfied, but it might be completely unrelated to having children.


12 wow props to you. What does your monthly budget look like and how do you expect to pay for college for all 12??


It's about $4000 for food. It's been a while since I looked at the rest. The house and cars are paid off.

I don't expect to pay for college for all 12. They start dual-enrollment as early as 12, with the school district paying for books and tuition, so a college degree can be had for the cost of commuting and trivial fees. Normally that would be just an AA degree (the few 4-year degrees offered locally are lousy), but a couple more years to upgrade it to a BS at UCF isn't terribly expensive. I could just pay it, but it might be better for the kids to solve their own financial problems. Maybe somebody will go into the military, go to a trade school, or be a homemaker. The ones with plans so far have chosen: CPA (maybe), software developer, lawyer (physics undergrad), something medical (physician assistant?), and midwifery.


Got it thanks for the response :). I have a secret dream of having a large family as well, so was just curious how you made it all work.


It helps to be in an affordable area with a software development job. It is then possible to have one parent stay at home. I'm near Melbourne, FL.


I'm a little sad at the thought that we as a society don't help people to better deal with questions like these. Or that someone alive in space and time can be stuck like this.

See a movie. Date a person. Start a community war. Draw a picture. Read a book. Write a book. Go for a swim. Call a relative. Visit a friend. Make a friend. Take a night class. Play a video game. Whittle. Cook. Volunteer. Brew beer. Start a fight. Walk around. Pull a prank. Make graffiti. Build a robot. Throw a party. Have a regular potluck. Buy a dart board and get really good. Play a game. Feed some ducks.

But I'm genuinely curious. Did you have this problem as a kid or after the school day or did it sorta just happen when you started in the workforce?


But actually don't start a fight.


Go rock climbing at a gym. Mental flow is common while climbing and it’s a great exercise. Gymnastic mental puzzle.


Rock climbing was the most fun I've ever had scared out of my damn mind. Even with a fear of heights, it can be worth a try


Play music! I can't recommend it enough! I'm conducting a hobby orchestra and it's the most fun I have all week.

There's something deeply satisfying in playing together in a large group. I'd recommend something a little livelier than classical but that's fun too!


> What changes have you seen in the students coming into the computer science program over the years?

> Knuth: There is a very profound change that I can't account for. In the 70s, the majority of our students were very interested in music. The first thing we'd ask them when they came in was "What instrument do you play?" We had lots of chamber groups and so on. Now almost none of the students are interested in music.

From http://tex.loria.fr/litte/knuth-interview


Get the heart pumping - go for a run/walk, life weights, play basketball...something to make your body feel good after sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day. Depending where you live, get 20-30 mins of sun, does wonders for the feel-goods. Find a hobby you enjoy that’s not on the computer, if only to spend at least an hour a day away from a screen. Find some meetups to meet some people, talking with people outside of a work environment is good for your social skill upkeep.


My advice is hit the gym. It gets you out of the house, gets you healthier, and probably makes you better-looking too. Doesn't need to be a "gym" per se either--an athletic hobby like rock-climbing or basketball works as well.


I do the same thing. I have a feeling a lot of engineers are in this same trap. The problem is that prolonged periods of just going home and watching tv after work is going to lead to an increase in social anxiety for many people. Which then leads to even more isolation.

Ideally I envision myself going to the gym, going to a meetup, playing board games, etc, but I just never seem to bring myself around to doing it.


Put stuff on your calendar. Don’t overload it, but dot your calendar out for a month or two with an event once a week. Buy. Ticket to something so you feel some pressure, and invite some friends. Find ways to motivate yourself and see that as a challenge to overcome.


I've massively struggled to find these events to go to.


Unless you're somewhere extremely rural, there has to be _something_ going on. There are many places these are advertised and aggregated: local newspapers, Facebook events, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, Meetup, and even Google has a pretty great events product now. What are you struggling with?


It's crazy to think how many of us are similar across the world. Get up, commute to work, do work, commute home, watch netflix and repeat.


Invest in relationships. Whether they be personal or professional the time you spend there is like a multiplier for the quality of your future.


Something that's helped me is to think long term. Think about where you'd like to be in 5, 10, 20, 40 years. Is your current life trajectory working towards it? If not what would you like it to look like instead? For example, if you'd like to work for yourself one day and own a business, you can work on that (albeit that's with the computer). Sounds like you're happy with where you work; is there anything at work in terms of technology or interpersonal skills you feel like you could get better at? You can invest time into that. Or as some people mentioned you can do something completely different, some hobbies can end up being "careers" themselves. For example, if you love olympic weightlifting, you might have aspirations to become a national competitor one day. Goals like that can really motivate you to invest time in one way or another after the workday.


Go for a walk with a (real) camera and try to find something to photograph.

  1. good exercise.  
  2. you'll start noticing more and looking at things differently.  
  3. you'll be holding a camera instead of a phone - so you'll stay more engaged with the exercise.


"What to do after the workday?" - is the key of the question

> Go for a walk

It's almost winter in US. Pardon me, but taking a walk in the dark, alone, with your camera doesn't really sound as a good advice.

I bet with your new iPhone you can take gorgeous photos at night but that can be fun only once on the blue moon, not every day?..


> "It's almost winter in US. Pardon me, but taking a walk in the dark, alone, with your camera doesn't really sound as a good advice."

Pardon me, but the US is an absolutely giant place - in Texas this is the time of year where I can go out in the evening and not be miserable. Also some of the best photo's I've ever taken where in Telluride in the middle of February right after sunset.


Oh right! My bad, apologies. We northerners always forget that south exists and different.


It is a great activity, just get a camera that makes good pictures after sunset with little light (meaning no phone but rather something with 1" sensor or bigger). There is creative aspect to it in form of looking for a good shot, its composition, framing etc.

Unless of course if you live in crappy place riddled with criminality and evening walk is semi-sure way to get mugged or worse.

Heck, evening walks are a great way to clear your head after long day at work. I get tons of ideas out of blue when subconsciousness processes them.


When your brain is tired, make your body tired, too.


Start by going to a bar and just being there. Become sort of a regular. It's very easy to do and you don't need to do anything demanding or anything you don't want to do. Just sit there and be around people. You don't need to talk if you don't want to. Natural conversations and connections just happen. Don't force it. Be patient. If you are there long enough you will become a regular and meet other people in your neighborhood. From there you can branch out into other activities; just the act of being around people will open up doors that you didn't think were there.


Where I live, there is an organization [1] that is aimed at young professionals and offers "sports" leagues after work. It is especially good for people new to the city: you sign up and they put you on a team. The standard model is that some bar near the playing field will sponsor your team; after every match, your team goes to the bar for some free or discounted drinks and food. You make friends very quickly!

Your city almost certainly has some variation on this concept.

[1] https://chicagosocial.com/


Exercise. Socialize. Try to combine the two.


Riding a bike hits both of these, and the balance between the two is highly customizable on each ride.


I like going thrifting and looking for cool things or coming up with something to search for and collect. Recently i'm into collecting uranium glass for instance. It's also gives you some walking around the stores and such. You can even maybe try and play with some weird fashion while there. It helps with exploring some good restaurants also as a lot of thrift shops are in different areas of town and I like to give the stores time to 'refresh' between visits.


Try slackline - it's a meditative practice and a way to meet new people.

There was a period in my life when I just moved to another country and felt lonely. I bought a line and started to practice in a popular park. On a good day I could meet 1-2 people per hour. There were people from wildly different backgrounds - sometimes it's a quirky homeless guy, young father, cute girls, policeman


Second this. Recently got a slackline and it's absolutely the best way to meet people. I often have groups of 5-10 people crowded around. People are curious about it and where I'm from they aren't afraid to ask to try it.


I find this advice funny. I don't have much of an opinion on the slackline itself but random people coming up to me for superficial meetings does not appeal to me.


This is one of these cases when quality emerges from quantity


Right after work, I turn off and unplug the pc, then I roll the top down on the desk.

I step out of the office, walk through the living room, and into the kitchen where my beautiful bride has dinner cooking. I wash up, then join Wifey and the kids at the kitchen table.

After dinner, my wife and I go for a good walk. After that, it's family tv time.

I really, really love working from the house. Zero time wasted on commuting.


I try to spend my time doing things that let me create things, get into a flow state or both of those. I'm also a bit of an introvert. At work that has led me into a career in software. At home, there's a couple things that have been the focus of my free time: hiking, woodworking or music (I have to pick 1 or 2 to focus on... there's just not enough time)

Woodworking has been my kick for the past few years and it's a great hobby if you have a bit of space to make sawdust (basement, back yard/common area, garage, spare room). I find that it's really satisfying to make something tangible. Even after a full day of building software, spending time working with your hands can be incredibly satisfying, refreshing and fulfilling. It's also a very deep art/trade that you continually improve at so, over time you get to see your work improve as you learn more and get better. Things you make will go from clunky to functional to elegant. The cool thing is that you can be proud of it all. You made it!


I like to cook, read and work on my home server and personal software projects. Do the things that the kind of person you want to be would do. If you are missing a partner or friends just focus on improving yourself and people will want to be around you. Relationships are not a means of being interesting, they are a reward for being interesting.


Given the question, and that “you feel there is more”...

I would say you are mostly looking for a “kick” to get going. You may already know what you want... or you don’t, but either way it is important to “try”.

The more you get “out there” the more likely you will experience things you enjoy.

My concrete recommendation: 1. create a list of things that interest you/goals/or skills you want to develop. 2. Take no more than 3 of them you want to try to do for a year. 3. Create actionable activities that you can do at least monthly (but ideally weekly) on those items. 4. Do the activities. 5. Evaluate yourself every 3 months, is there one activity that is more meaningful/enjoyable than the rest? Do you find one a “dog”? Either way decide to either cut or do more on any activity.

One other note: finding a community that want the same thing can help a lot here... at least personally I am more likely to get off the couch if I know someone is counting on me.

My 2 cents...


Americans, Japanese and Korean people tend to do that sort of thing because the work weeks are punishingly difficult. If you worked part-time for a period and put serious effort into thinking about something to do, this question would mostly answer itself. Of course this isn't possible in most working situations.


Look up events in your area and go to some that sound cool, even if they aren't the sort of thing you would normally do. Find cheap concerts for music you normally don't listen to. It doesn't matter if you go alone - tons of people do, especially for less well known bands. Learn a hobby about making something, even if it's just a better dinner. Or take a class on making things (woodworking, metalworking, pottery, sewing, whatever). Among the people in tech I know, photography and running also seem to be popular. Next thing you know, there won't be enough time after work to do half the things you want to do.

Look for hobby groups at work as well. For a medium to large company, there are probably a lot. We have a casual after work board game club that gets together once a week, for instance.


Perhaps a bit tangential to OP's question, but in a similar thread on HN in the past someone had posted that you will probably be more successful if you try to fit in your hobbies/ side projects (tech or not tech related) before you start your workday as you will be less tired and more fresh.

I sort of agree with this as when I come back from work I often find myself lacking the willpower to do anything more than skim HN, reddit or watch something on youtube and then sleep.

I've found myself to be more productive if I get some time in the morning before I go to work.


Exercise + socialize

Meetup.come and facebook groups can be a great resource. Try something that freaks you out a little bit.

I <3 acro yoga, group and solo mountain biking, and group and solo rock climbing. Maybe one more of those would work for you. Maybe you should find something else. Ultimate frisbee, geocaching, group fitness classes, group hiking. There are a lot of exercise + socialize options out there if you go looking for them. Do it and I bet you’ll thank yourself for it later on down the road. If you feel uncomfortable putting yourself out there and trying something new than just try to remember how uncomfortable you are with the thought that there might be something more out there for you. I bet that there is.


For me, the most important game-changer is to have things set-up in advance.

I.e. I have dance-lessons on monday and wednesday evening, and there open dance-hall every sunday.

Or, I know that every tuesday and thursday there is a boardgame meetup.

Previously, when I wanted to meet my friends for a beer or coffe, I would usually start organizing something late afternoon, and realized nobody has time in the evening. Now everybody know that I am free after my dance lessons, so one less thing to argue about :)


Take a walk! Enjoy your town/city. Research about something outside of tech. Try some new restaurants. Plan a vacation to somewhere you never ever thought of visiting.

It'll all help you be more creative at work too :)


I'm "that guy" who plays with new libraries and dives into HN articles. I have side jobs, podcast, meet-ups (although not for long). I continue trying to take me social media skills to the next level, but no luck yet. I throw all that in the trash whenever one of my 3 kids needs me for an even or anything. They're pretty independent so I'm lucky. At 35years, I should be exercising... But I love learning new things, and always try to make progress towards self-employment.


That's awesome! Do you mind linking your podcast? Curious how it's structured and topics. I was also thinking about doing a podcast but only whine and push my thoughts on my fellow few followers in my blog right now.


Awesome work, in addition to it Socrates might want to say something about exercising, "see what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit."


Start reading. There is nothing more worthwhile than reading (especially classic literature). Find an author who interests you and read all of their books and move on from there :)


Do you have any recommendations?


I'm not OP but let me take this opportunity to recommend Fyodor Dostoevsky. I started with The Brothers Karamazov when I was fresh out of high school and struggling with identity (coming from a traditional Hindu society in Nepal). It has helped me immensely and I consider it to be one of the best most comprehensive and educational books I have ever read.

(If it helps anyone, Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote Slaughterhouse Five and Breakfast of Champions is a big fan of Dostoevsky and recommends his works in multiple writings.)

/$0.02


Hey, thanks for the recommendations. Glad to see a fellow Nepali in HN :).


I'm genuinely surprised. What are the odds! Khusi laagyo :)



Join a choir. Go dance tango or folk dance. Become a radio amateur. Take a walk in nature during the weekend. Take up a hobby that doesn't involve computers (that much).

Or have children.


Sit in silence. I guess it's kinda meditation, but I just like to sit in silence. Sometimes its 5 minutes, sometimes it's 2 hours. I always feel happier and more relaxed afterwards. My guess is what's happening behind the scenes is that my brainis processing all the input it's been receiving over the day. Just sit on the floor in a room with not much going on. Temperature should be comfortable. Just do literally nothing.


Just sharing my personal experience here: if I do this alone I become incredibly anxious, in a quite bad way (though I know that I have higher anxiety level than average). My significant other does it quite often, just sitting in the bed or on the couch doing absolutely nothing, staring at a wall or the ceiling, and she really seems to enjoy it. It's weird how just doing nothing can have so much impact.


I started with Mountain biking this January and am addicted to it. I think it's a great hobby for 9 hour behind the desk job.I recommend starting with this https://howitzer.co/mountain-biking-a-minimalist-guide-to-ge...


Go out with friends? Schedule a dinner, coffee, or drinks with a friend this coming week. Take a walk and talk to them. Go to your local parks, some sort of event, try every restaurant in walking distance, learn to cook, read a book.

I'm happy you enjoy your work but I can't imagine not knowing what to do with your free time. If anything I get stressed because there's too much to do!


Be a human, a real human. Your life is a lot shorter that you are able to envision at this point (1), your feelings benumb in time. You forget who you are and what matters to you.

If you're a real human - and you are - you should spend more time with yourself and get to known about yourself and how different and similar you are to the other human beings, what's your common ground and where you briefly part your ways. You should do nothing more often just because being (as opposed to doing) is truly a wholesome thing in itself and you probably deserve it. You should cultivate your curiosity and learn about things not because they're useful to your job, but because you may become a better friend, brother and son. You should learn to enjoy your company and be your own friend and exert more control over the things that look like escapism - TV, internet, drugs and all - but be a wholesome person as well and understand the age you live in and its peculiarities.

If you're a real human - and you are - you should spend more time with your friends. In the long run, most people regret not spending more time cultivating fulfilling and genuine friendships and keeping in touch over the years. (2) You should strive to be a better friend than you currently are and use some of your spare time to make their lives a bit better and their journeys easier. You should set aside time each week for some of them and call them, email them, write them paper letters and cook for them at your place. You should spend more time helping your friends know the real you, the scared you, the brave you, the silly you, as they probably already know the smart and sexy you.

If you're a real human - and you are - you should spend more time with your family. Some of the strongest and best reasons to be alive are connected to what we call our families. Being an adult yourself now, with your own peculiarities, life experience and unique perspective - you should be more kind to them and more approachable and less judgemental. You should make their journey through life less arduous and painful. You should be there more often for dinner and bake your lovely cake for them. You should ask for their opinions even though you're not going to follow them. You should teach them that things can be good and that's not always a muddle-through. Be a good dad without any logic to support it.

If you're a real human - and I'm sure you are - you should enjoy your work but never confuse work with life. While work is certainly part of it, it should never-ever replace life's extensive and puzzling experiences, disappointments and boredoms. Your brief visit here is realy truly brief, you just can't see it yet. Oftentimes and without our noticing, work saps meaning from life but we learn this when we've stopped being busy and eager. In your free time after work, you should be your own self, without the demands of work and social life. You should pursue your own activities and create your own meaning. There's certainly more to life than work. (3)

Here is a Freddie Mercury snippet to go with that.

"There must be more to life than living There must be more that needs the light Why should it be just a case of black or white There must be more to life than this"

1. https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/05/life-weeks.html / 2. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-fiv... / 3. https://old.reddit.com/r/stopworking/


Side projects, but away from the computer. There is a lot that can be done totally offline, things like design, art, logos, Gantt charts, and just general notes, planning and ideas can all be sketched out on paper. I like to indulge in this as it feels productive and I can do it in the sun with a notebook.


Read — anything by Tolstoy, or George Eliot


Some ideas based on my own personal experience:

* Lose the TV (it opens up space, saves electricity and you can put plants in its place)

* Improve and optimize your living. Eg adding a hook somewhere to hang stuff. Make an economic shower caddy. Install accessible power points.

* Cook. For a tired mind, cooking and cleaning afterwards is very soothing.


> I mostly enjoy my day at work. There are people to talk to and somewhat interesting projects to work on.

Stockholm syndrome.


Play pinball. It's a fun hobby with a fantastic community that lets you leave the house, travel to conventions and tournaments, and make good friends. https://pinballmap.com/ helps you find places to play.


Freelance, find new recipes that you may enjoy and make interesting dinners. Also the obligatory third place - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_place


Is Third place even a thing in modern cities nowadays? I feel like it has shifted online, and even online Third places (small message boards) have been disappearing... HN may be quite close to one.

In a city like NY or London or SF, what would be good Third places for HN-type people?


Serving size 1 - Coming from Southeast US there is a rise in craft micro-breweries in many of the more 'hip' cities. These smaller locations tend to have groups of regulars who tend to know each other and provide such a 'service'. That being said I do agree with the thought of this phenomenon moving to the internet, things like city based slack chats work decently for this and these groups work to create physical meetups as well.


There are Third Places if you know where to look. You just have to decide what your Third Place is, or discover it.

I'm not sure what "HN-type people" means because I'm clearly way out of the standard demographic and my Third Place would not be yours. It pains me to think that there is a standard demographic here.


I just bought a piano and am learning that. I think it will help with mindfulness. I want to do painting on my balcony but it is too cold here so I will wait until spring. These are solo activities though so I do long for something more group oriented.


The phrases "mostly enjoy" and "somewhat interesting" are red flags to me. It brings to mind Hamming's talk [1] where he recounts:

> And I started asking, ``What are the important problems of your field?'' And after a week or so, ``What important problems are you working on?'' And after some more time I came in one day and said, ``If what you are doing is not important, and if you don't think it is going to lead to something important, why are you at Bell Labs working on it?'' I wasn't welcomed after that; I had to find somebody else to eat with!

Let me suggest that it may be possible you haven't yet found your calling.

Now, maybe you're at the start of your career, or at a point where you need to work your way up the ladder to gain skills and prove yourself in order to get to the important work. Sometimes you need to grind. If your field is software, though, I'd caution that it's not going to stay the same, and what you see as interesting and important may not exist in a couple years when you get there.

The people I most look up to are hungry to go to work every day, and do their work. They attack it, and then look for more. They've done many completely different types of work, so they're sure this is what they want to spend their life on.

If I could go back 10 or 20 years, to where I was in the same position, I'd tell myself to spend those extra hours learning new skills and trying different kinds of work. I kind of did, but I definitely undershot on variety. I didn't even have the correct first approximation to the job I have today.

[1]: https://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/YouAndYourResearch.html

The literal answer to your question is: after work, volunteering, and training, I pretty much go home and go to sleep. I have no energy left for even watching TV.


I lift. Focus on form and crushing the weight. Form form form.

It's a great way to wind down the day after using your brain all day sitting in a chair. The pump you get in your arms, chest, back and legs feels awesome.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing, Dancing, Gaming, Tindering, Driving.


Cycle and ride my motorbike (little CB125F I got for commuting to new job and immediately fell in love with riding - full license soon then a bigger one).

Spend time with my family and play video games.


I do aikido.


Martial arts are a great answer. And aikido can be a great martial art. They are both social and exercise. Plus, if you’ve been braining all day in a relatively self-directed way, it’s really sublimate your ego and front brain to instruction and kinesthetic puzzling.

People get wrapped around the axel of the effectiveness of aikido, but truthfully it’s great defense against dying lonely or of heart disease. At least at many dojos. Some dojos are less physical than I'd like, and some are more. I’m happy to be at a dojo that leaves me uninjured but drenched in sweat and out of breath (and I’m in pretty good shape).


I love to read. Recently I purchased a small bookshelf, and have has a blast filling it up.


If you moved in with someone, you would at least have another person to face this question with you.


Join a local climate movement. It’s a lot of fun and as a bonus you might save human civilization.


Play with baby. Take dog for a work. Usually try avoiding touching the computer.


a) exercise(gym, mma, boxking, krav-maga...) b) create a one-man-show startup - find something you are passion about, to keep you going, and start working on it every day


I play with my 3 year old daughter. Best thing in the world for me :-)


Music, friends & family. Oh, and project hacking...


After regenerating all day at work, I swap with my wife in the duty taking care for my 9mo toddler. I love her, but I still look forward to being back at my work PC. Hopefully it gets better with time.


Spend time with your family and friends.


Build something to earn Passive Income.


Rest! Go for a walk, turn off your brain, you will need it for a long time!




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