We all define “success” differently, but most 20-somethings probably associate it with happiness, good health, a strong social network, and a well-balanced life.
According to experts, how you spend your downtime plays a huge part in your ability to achieve these things.
“If you take time to recharge and pay attention to fitness and your diet, for example, after work or on weekends, you’ll set the stage for great life habits that put you at the top of your game at the office,” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job.”
“It’s self-perpetuating. A healthy mind and body help you do your best work. Knowing that you are achieving great results at the office further encourages you to relax and follow your passions during your leisure time — which creates a work-life balance and positive outlook in all your endeavours.”
Here are 18 things successful 20-somethings do in their downtime:
They spend time with family and friends
When they're working or going to school, it's hard for people to give focused attention to those they care about, Taylor says. That's why they make an effort to check in with friends and family during their downtime.
Many successful people thrive on good health and seek a natural adrenaline rush, such as a regular fitness program or even extreme sports.
'You can go cycling, hiking, kayaking, snow boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and, for the extreme sports lovers, there's bungee jumping and a host of other options,' Taylor says.
They learn something new
Successful 20-somethings are typically intellectually curious, seek to remain well-read, and surf the internet constantly for the truth, Taylor says.
'They don't take much at face value, as the last 10 to 15 years of world events have underscored the need for them to question things that prior generations were more apt to accept,' she says.
They reflect on their personal and professional success
This age group is often fascinated with how other young, mega entrepreneurs in technology have made it and the role of innovation, Taylor says:
'In their downtime, they ponder how that career trajectory could apply to them, not because material wealth will give them fancier homes and cars per se -- but because they want to make a difference and seek career freedom, which financial reward provides. Successful people are passionate about their pursuits -- both at work and play.'
They learn strategies for managing stress
Living in a chronic state of stress and exhaustion can take its toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally, and if brought on by work it can lead to job burnout.
You won't make it far in your career if you don't pick up some strategies for managing stress.
They master something
As Barry Saltzman, a business-strategy expert and CEO of Saltzman Enterprise Group, previously told Business Insider, successful 20-somethings know what they can do and become extraordinary at something. 'From both a professional standpoint and a branding standpoint, being an expert in a particular field is more important than I can say.'
They spend time outside
Enjoying nature and outdoor activities of all kinds contributes to successful people's ability to function at their best during the workweek, physically and mentally, Taylor says.
In fact, research shows that, compared to walking through busy urban and commercial streets, spending time in green spaces in particular results in lower levels of frustration and higher meditation for a group of walkers.
'Successful people don't take our environment for granted,' she says.
Travel can be expensive, but the most accomplished and fulfilled people figure out ways to explore new cities or visit friends and family during their time off from work. Why? They crave exciting experiences -- and want to learn about new places and cultures.
They eat well, with purpose
'Casual dining, especially with friends, is a high priority for this group of people after work or on weekends,' Taylor says. 'These foodies want to know what they're eating, and prefer organic and healthier foods. Cooking a killer meal is also appealing to many.'
Eating with purpose can go a long way, especially in the workplace. As Lisa De Fazio, a healthy lifestyle expert and registered dietitian, previously told Business Insider, what you eat for breakfast and lunch affects your productivity for the rest of the day.
They tend to their social networks
Twenty-somethings typically have a strong social network, and they understand that staying connected is critical to happiness in their spare time, Taylor says.
They tend to their professional networks
Successful young professionals know that networking is essential to building and growing a successful career. Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between networking strategically and increased income.
To be an effective networker you need to step out of your comfort zone -- and it also helps to avoid the common mistakes many people make.
They do something spontaneous
'Successful people realise that sometimes you just need to live a little,' says Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder of The Hired Group, and author of 'Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad.' 'Being spontaneous shows that you are able to think on your feet and make quick decisions, which are also qualities of those that hold leadership roles.'
They do something philanthropic
'Successful 20-somethings are more likely to think green than their demographic counterparts,' Taylor says. 'Supporting that philosophy with their deeds, not words, translates to success.'
She says that many are socially conscious and want to make a positive difference on the planet: 'They may volunteer to support a cause that helps the environment, for example.'
They manage their money
While eating well and travelling are important, successful 20-somethings also know that this is a critical time when it comes to managing money. As Business Insider previously reported, time is on your side when you're young, and a head start in saving and investing could set you up for a wealthy future.
They tap into their creativity
'Leisure pursuits that tap into creativity, such as playing a musical instrument, listening to their latest musical download, or attending a concert are all popular pursuits for successful 20-somethings,' Taylor says. 'Similarly, painting or writing a blog on a topic of passion supports a desire to be innovative and expressive.'
Research out of San Francisco State University shows that people who engage in creative activities outside of work feel more relaxed and in control in their off hours and are more likely to be helpful to coworkers and creative in their approach solving work problems than those without these hobbies.
They have a side hustle
'A side hustle is a business you run in your free time that allows you the flexibility to pursue what you're most interested in. It's a chance to delve into food, travel, fashion, or whatever you're passionate about whilst keeping your day job,' writes Susie Moore, a writer and confidence coach.
She says the great thing about having a side job, apart from the extra income, is that it allows you to use talents that may remain dormant in your 9-to-5 job and make a meaningful impact by doing work that you love on your terms.
They practice their hobbies
Successful twenty-somethings recognise that this is the perfect time to unwind with their favourite pastimes or hobbies, such as socialising, reading, painting, or something else, Taylor says.
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