Most grown-ups in the western world live their lives in the same way. Go to work in the morning, come home around 6pm and if they have enough energy, do something with their friends or for themselves. Then relax with Netflix or a video game. It's also how my days look like. At least until Summer 2018 when I started to question how I spend my days. If you really, really think about what makes you happy, how you want to spend your life, your days, what gives you joy and what stays in your head for the rest of your life - it is rarely that project you finished at work or that meeting that went so great.
We're all dreaming of becoming a better version of ourselves - more sports, more skills, knowledge, wealth, relationships, etc. but our actions rarely reflect that. We dream of it, but we do not pursue it. The reasons vary.
If I come home from work at 6 or 7pm I have no energy left to work out. I just want to relax.
That time after work from 6pm to 11pm is rarely productive. For the most part, it's wasted. It doesn't make me any more happy. I think I deserve to rest after that hard day with a beer and a good movie but it doesn't add anything to how good I feel. So I decided to turn this around. I wanted to learn a lot of things. A new language, the piano, sailing, I want to get in shape, build a company on the side, form stronger relationships with my family - this is where I want to put my energy into. So if a regular day means expending my energy at work and using whatever is left (if any) for myself, I would have to turn that day upside down. It is basically your energy distribution during the day. Where should it really go and when? From then on, each day started with me putting energy into whatever I care about first. Training, a side project, a book, anything. After that, the remaining energy goes to my employer (let's face it, those meetings will not get any worse because this change). A few months ago I started to put myself first. 3 hours each morning I'm doing things to achieve my goals and things that I enjoy. Stuff that makes me feel better and as it turns out it reflects very positively on my work as well. I arrive more energised, calm and confident as I'm slowly but surely becoming a better version of myself each day.
What I lose in that change is the "wasted" time in the evenings. I don't watch that much Netflix anymore (I still watch occasionally though), I'm not missing that wasted time honestly.
I know this stuff sounds like a tough change, getting up earlier and doing all this stuff - it was the same for me. That's why Baby Steps are so important. If you would like to go into this direction, start with the smallest possible change for a few weeks: go to bed at 11pm. Every day. That's it. After a few weeks, you will wake up earlier, then start doing it: put your alarm to 6am and get up. Doesn't matter what you do then, just get up at 6am for a few weeks. Slowly but surely you're adding to this new behaviour. You get used to it and positive, long-term change is underway 🙂.
TL;DR: use your energy for yourself first. I wish you all the best in doing so 👊.