Dan Adams 8 min read

Abuse The System! — 24 Hacks for Maximizing Time Within the Corporate World

Self Improvement corporate graduate

Abuse The System! — 24 Hacks for Maximizing Time Within the Corporate World

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” -Jim Morrison

The corporate world has been a part of achieving the “American Dream” for baby boomers for the past several decades and as our world has dramatically changed, the vast majority of our population has refused to evolve. A steady job, paycheck, and pension were commonplace, but with that stability came monotony and separation- endless tasks, meetings, and reports that sucked the life out of workers and revealed the illusion of their pursuit.

This still exists today, and many young adults venture into the corporate world to chase dollars and pay off student debt in an attempt to bridge the gap between the system of the old and the emergence of the New World. This will be an extremely difficult task for young generations to undertake, however, we now possess the “tools” to enact the change. Do you have the courage to begin building your own path? Will you become the change within your community?

1) Invest some of your corporate paycheck in local creators and bringing visions to life

Every dollar you spend is a vote towards the world you wish to create. The greatest investment you can make in 2013 is helping creators bring visions to life that will enhance connection in the community and contribute to the evolving world. The perception of our current economy will soon collapse, as will most of the structures associated with it. In my personal life, I have stopped investing in a 401k and have set up a fund to help those I believe in.  Whenever you spend money, ask yourself three questions

  1. Is this transaction bettering the world I live in?
  2. Will this purchase get me closer to my goals or am I merely being an unconscious consumer?
  3. How will this transaction serve me in the future? Would my money (energy) be better utilized in other capacities?

2) Learn to utilize social media & create connection within local communities

Social media has changed our world, allowing humanity to connect, share ideas, expand perceptions, and manifest visions at a far faster rate than anything experienced in human history. Spend an hour each day experimenting with new social media platforms to share your passions and connect with fellow creators aligned with your interests. I recommend the Apple One To One Program when working on personal projects outside of work, and subscribing to various online tech magazines and websites for daily updates. If you want to provide value to your company while expanding your own abilities, volunteer to lead all corporate social media efforts.

3) Maximize corporate benefits and opportunities for personal growth

If a piece of your vision includes furthering your education, take full advantage of any tuition reimbursement program (very rare program outside of corporations). Being debt free equals more freedom for your true calling. Additionally, use company travel opportunities (minimal out-of-pocket expenses) as a way to explore and see new places.

4) Build awareness of expenses and put your money towards true passions

Eliminate all unnecessary expenses and save as much money as you can. By increasing personal capital, it will present you with the freedom to build your own path and help others who can influence positive change within our world. Mint.com is a great online resource that will give you an awareness of where your money is going and help you be more efficient in making daily choices. To be honest, I no longer believe in 401k’s and have decided to put all of my money towards building my path and investing in fellow creators.

5) Seek out fellow creators that you admire and build lasting relationships via Social Media

If you could connect to anyone in the world, why not reach out to those that inspire you and learn from their experiences? There is nothing holding you back in this life except yourself. Embark upon the adventure.

6) Free yourself of gossip and mindless corporate conversation

Put headphones in, shut your door, or confront the individual compassionately to free yourself of negative energy. Take off your mask and stop playing the unconscious game. Life is precious; don’t let it go to waste playing a “role” or being a victim in our modern world.

7) Turn off the TV, stop going to bars, and focus on building authentic relationships within local communities

How many times are you going to repeat the same cycle to experience the same void in your life? If people spent a fraction of their time confronting their own fears and building their path rather than watching sports, hanging out at bars, consuming, and participating in other “escape” activities, their quality of life would RISE DRAMATICALLY. Go to interesting places that attract interesting people aligned with your highest vision. Focus on building authentic relationships through increasing your presence.

8) Confront a fear on a weekly basis

What are you afraid of doing? Go out and try something you’re afraid of to reveal your strength beyond form. By confronting fears it will reveal a new sense of authenticity and presence that will forever change the course of your life.

9) Build value within the corporate world by providing services aligned with your true interests

Do you enjoy marketing? Why not help the marketing department in your free time to understand the rules of the game? What are you interested in? How can you provide value to the corporation while expanding yourself? You’re a creator, not a product of your environment, so be pro-active rather than reactive.

10) Go on “weekend wanderlusts” & embrace a beginner’s mindset

Embrace nature and learn to get outside of routines and rigid perspectives. By learning to silence the mind and take things in anew, the quality of your life and work will improve dramatically. Bring like-minded people together and experience the world together. Collaborate and bring visions to life no matter how “silly” or “small” they seem. If you possess a beginner’s mindset in this life, meaning you’re willing to take the first step without being paralyzed by the fear of failure, you will learn exponentially faster than everyone else.

11) Treat all life experiences as merely a game

The process associated with “becoming” is tremendously stressful if you fail to grasp the fact that all of life is a game and external accomplishments will never complete you. Enjoy the process of creating and remember that if you take the game too seriously then the game will “play you.” There is a lot of truth in the metaphors associated with Peter Pan so think happy thoughts, play, and don’t get all caught up in corporate politics. Most people are unconscious of the game they play!

12) Practice humility

You know deep in your soul that you’re meant for more, yet it’s important to appreciate that for some co-workers in your company, they are living their dream job. Having humility about your views on work and the future offers the opportunity develop empathy and more meaningful relationships with your co-workers.

13) Nurture like-minded relationships from within

Do you share a passion or dream with a co-worker? Use lunch breaks or time before and after work to process your thoughts and express your feelings on life between friends. Fostering fellowship at work will bring significantly more meaning to your day.

14) Leverage your current job as a lab for experimentation

Utilize your free time in the office to explore your passions, educate yourself via the web and ponder your true purpose. Take advantage of having a steady paycheck by investing in things that will make your life better.

15) Reframe how you view your work

An appreciative mindset searches for the inherent potential in all things. What possibilities exist for you to learn and grow that you have not thought of? What seed can you plant today that could make the most difference to the future of your career? See the mighty oak in the acorn.

16. Find Positive Deviants within your organization to model

Focus on the successful exceptions in your organization rather than the failing norm. Look for co-workers who exhibit transcendent behavior (exceed expectations, overcome obstacles, and create opportunities). Connect with them and learn from each other. Take them out to lunch once per week to pick their brain.

17. Take advantage of every networking opportunity

Network within your organization to gain perspective on new possibilities. It’s often difficult at work to reveal your true abilities to co-workers unfamiliar with your job role. Networking breaks down barriers and allows other to see your character and potential in a more authentic way. Even the most normal, ho-hum individual can offer you valuable knowledge and insight (if even by not doing what they do).

18. Use the 50/10 rule

When you’re at work, set a timer and work for 50 minutes on a particular task.  For the remaining 10 minutes, take time to do something completely different – meditate, get a glass of water, connect with a colleague on a non-work related topic. This will allow your mind to take a breather from the day-to-day tasks and constantly recharge throughout the day.

19) Reflect

Each day, take 10 minutes (either before work or before bed) to reflect on what it is you’re doing. Why are you at work? Is your purpose to serve some giant conglomerate or to take the knowledge they can give you and do something more fulfilling? These are questions we all ask, but actually reflecting and figuring out what is the right path will be tremendous help in helping one achieve that path.

21) Save money to take a trip outside of your country each year

We often become complacent and very comfortable with our lives. We complain about every little thing that doesn’t go our way. Meanwhile, people around the world are going through challenges that make our problems look minuscule. Getting outside your comfort zone and traveling the world will give you a better appreciation of your life when you return.

Some of my greatest insights, peaceful moments, and humbling experiences have occurred while traveling to places including India, Hungary, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and other countries around the world. Use these experiences to refresh, recharge, and reflect on what you have done and where you want to go.

21) Pay yourself first

One of the few good things about a corporate job is the steady paycheck. Having money is great. However, having a cushion that can serve for a rainy day, or when you choose to jump the proverbial corporate ship and venture out on your own is probably more important than that pair of shoes or that beer.

So, each month, look to sock away 10% or so of EACH paycheck to a savings accounts, 401k, or Roth IRA. By putting this money away immediately, it will help you live below your means and aid in easing the anxiety when you confront those unexpected obstacles along the journey.

22) Connect with friends, old and new

During your time on the car/bus/train home, make a phone call to a friend to connect. Human interaction has become sacred in the age of technology – it goes a long way and those conversations may spark ideas or change old perceptions, enabling you to overcome perceived barriers at certain stages of your life.

23) Log your thoughts

There are plenty of ideas that flow through our heads throughout the day, however, most of the time we can’t remember them or don’t hold ourselves accountable to act on them. Buy a journal, take notes, start a blog to organize, and collect your creative content. We definitely recommend the online platform, Evernote, to help with this process.

24) Seek creative content/outlets outside of work to keep your mind active

This could be side projects, new hobbies, or even small things around the house such as building a table or chairs that accelerate personal growth.

Do you have any insights on the tips above?  Please feel free to provide feedback from your direct experiences.

Original image by calebkerr

**Note from Jordan**

Dan runs an amazing program called the Higher Purpose Project — a 3-month experience designed to put you on the fast-track to living a life aligned with your passions, serving your highest purpose. I had the opportunity to speak there this Summer, and was blown away even by the amount of growth and connection that was facilitated in 3 short days. Learn more about it here.

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