Seven Rules for Life After Quitting Your 9-5 Job

Tim Denning

Rules are how you decide what you will and won’t stand for anymore.

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Image Credit: Nick Arnold via Twitter (Background: Australian Outback)

Quitting your job is a significant bookmark in your life.

You’ll never be the same again. How do I know? I just did it. Let my decision be your research project into what might be possible for your life.

No more all-day Zoom calls.

Back-to-back Zoom calls are where your day goes to die.

I used to spend all day on calls. Some days would be filled with all-day calls labeled “workshops.” There was hardly any time to think or work on customer problems. Talking about the business all day rather than doing something to move us forward aged me by ten years, I reckon.

Less talkfests. More doing. Doers build the important parts of the world. Talkers let their ego inflate like a hot air balloon. Eventually their ego pops when they realize people stopped listening to them.

Zoom Zoom less.

60/40 in favor of creativity

Mental illness stole my music career many years ago, but left behind a giant lake of creativity.

When I’m creative I feel alive. When I’m doing non-creative work I’m craving creativity. So I’ve shifted the odds in my favor. From now on, 60% of my work time is going to be spent being creative and 40% of my work time is going to be reserved for everything else.

Do what makes you feel alive is a good rule to live by.

No more bosses — only leaders.

Bosses told me what to do in my career. Leaders trusted that they hired the right person and let me get on with selling our services. A leader lets progress inspire your day-to-day work. A boss thinks they have to keep reminding you of dumb stuff like you’re a baby with a dummy in your mouth and a bottle of creamy milk in your hand really to spill on the carpet.

But first I’m going to stick with working by myself. Betting on a solo career feels like the right move. Choosing the safe-job-life with a salary feels like an inhibitor to growth at this point in my life. Who knows, maybe marriage will change my mind.

Make before manage.

“How in holy hell have I become the janitor of a mountain of bull dust?”

That’s how author Tim Ferriss feels when he doesn’t do enough making. If I wake up and the first thing I do is pay an electricity bill, I feel terrible.

My rule going forward is to make one thing in the morning before doing anything else. When I make something (like a blog post) I gain momentum. I then funnel that energy into the tasks that need to be managed — building a website, answering messages, publishing on social media, paying bills, etc.

The morning produces the best flow states. The morning is when your energy has been restored, thanks to a good night’s sleep. Managing can suck the life out of you. Making can bring you to life.

Mantra: “The morning is mine.”

Nothing goes into the calendar unless you let it. Zero guilt.

A full calendar is my worst nightmare.

As a former sufferer of mental illness, I need to go slowly. I need time to think. I need time to plan. You can’t rush me into a series of last-minute meetings and expect anything other than a disaster master sitting in the corner and meowing like a kitten. I am going to have zero guilt going forward when it comes to invitations. The Derek Sivers Rule of unless it’s a hell yes it’s no by default is going to become my rule.

Life is too short to have a calendar full of guilt you require tempting pleasures you know you shouldn’t indulge in to recover from.

No more drama.

Drama destroys my natural desire to be kind. Seeing drama makes me become a drama queen. I don’t want drama. I want peace and quiet. I want to one day disappear into the abyss with a notebook and write until my hands bleed. Then return to the world a different person.

Workplace drama just isn’t worth it. You can read all the self-help books in the world and force-feed your mind “stay away from toxic people” quotes.

Being around drama eventually brings you into the drama. Drama is addictive.

One unfiltered communication channel.

Sharing my thoughts is crucial. I want a small slither of my thoughts to be unfiltered. No editors. No publications. No competition for likes. No vanity metrics. So, I’m going to dedicate a small time slot each week to a communication channel I own outright.

I am deciding in the next seven days what that will be. There will be fun. There will be cheek. There will be controversial subjects. There will be the return of gifs. There will be unconventional formatting. There will be freeform headlines that clearly articulate what the story is about.

The reason I’m creating this channel is that it’s about a tiny audience. A tiny audience that want to be carefree and will take the time to find this hidden channel that won’t be marketed. Think of it like a secret society, except anyone can join. There is no “sorry you can’t stand there with those loud pants and that attitude.” Unfiltered thinking can be held back by an employer.

Releasing our thoughts can be a powerful act of freedom. To release thoughts is to see them in a different light.

Quitting a job isn’t the answer to life’s problems. Quitting a job is the chance to bookmark where you’re at and set rules for how you want to live. Made-up rules determine what decisions you will make.

A decision cuts off other options so you can focus on doing one thing extremely well.

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Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship www.timdenning.com

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