When it comes to people being productive with their spare time, I see two main issues today: 1) Many people don’t know how to spend their spare time effectively; 2) the amount of spare time is becoming less and less. In order to fix that, I’d like to share my thoughts with you today in this blog post which was written when I was traveling in Eastern Europe.

  • Our spare time is extremely important, so we should protect our spare time carefully.

We already have enough noise in our daily life, so why would we fill our lives with letting in more noise or being unproductive? For many people, that’s about forgetting the daily stresses they have to deal with or numbing themselves / their pain in life.

In the past, I used to be a fashion victim – I struggled with filling my time as I was shopping for shiny objects that I didn’t even need. But when I was traveling in Eastern Europe, I realized that Eastern European people are very different – they don’t stare at Instagram and compared themselves with other people all the time; they live a simpler lifestyle.

Then I was surprised by how many hours per day I spent on unproductive tasks such as reading fashion magazines and looking at Instagram influencers’ posts.

I met a new friend while traveling in Eastern Europe. This wise individual told me that the big 4 time-wasters for most people are playing video games, watching TV, social media and shopping for unnecessary things. Therefore, now I’ve quit video games, TV, social media and shopping for unnecessary items.

By getting rid of these activities, I easily free up at least 3 hours per day!

The better at decluttering your life you get, the more spare time you have. That is very motivating, isn’t it?

  • My very productive hobbies:

First, I love traveling in Eastern Europe. I’ve always been fascinated by Eastern European culture which highly values traditionalism and masculinity. I know these topics can be controversial, but I just love how different Eastern European culture is. After living in a western country for so many years, Eastern European culture is very refreshing. Every year, I go to an Eastern European country for some R&R and it worked really well for me. More importantly, I always learn something new from each trip.

Next, I love spending quality in-person time with friends and family. I have a very high-quality social circle full of people I absolutely adore.

Moreover, I do physical activities and exercises every day. I like dancing to the music. Basically, I listen to one album per day while dancing to the music. For example, today I was listening to Britney Spears’s first album and danced for one hour in the morning. I feel very energized as a result!

Furthermore, I cook my own meals because I know it’s hard to be healthy if I don’t cook by myself. Whenever I eat in a restaurant, I wonder whether the food is clean or not. I also wonder whether the knife and fork are clean or not. Besides, most restaurants use MSG as an ingredient, and I don’t think that’s a healthy choice.

Apart from that, I spend a lot of time outdoors (in the nature). I often go for a walk in the park near my place after dinner.

Also, I love learning new things. Anything that is not growing is dying 😉

  • Many people travel in Eastern Europe and start online businesses.

When I was in Eastern Europe, I met many westerners who live in Eastern Europe while running Internet businesses. Basically, these individuals make first-world money and have a much lower cost of living in countries such as Ukraine.

Some of these people have become my close friends and I’ve noticed that those who run successful businesses generally have these qualities in common:

First and most importantly, they know the difference between passion and profitability. Many profitable businesses owe their success to a personal passion. For example, a musician who opens a recording studio, a teacher who starts a tutoring service and a baker who starts a successful bakery all have passion in common. That’s wonderful. Confidence and excitement are crucial to making a business successful.

So is a good dose of reality.

Being very excited about what you would like to do is no guarantee of financial success. Businesses which start with passionate optimism sometimes go belly-up. Personal passion can carry you away, blinding you to the difficult realities which any business faces in making it in a highly competitive world. The bottom line of all businesses is profit at the end of the day.

If you hope to turn a personal passion into a successful business, you have to ask yourself a very simple question – Can this make a profit?

I know this question is very simple, but answering it is not always very easy. But every westerner running a successful business while living in Eastern Europe knows their answer really well.

Second, most successful entrepreneurs who have moved to Eastern Europe turned their side gigs into real businesses.

A lot of people have (or had) their day jobs, and then they have the thing they truly like to do. Most of them would love nothing more than turning their side hustle into a true business.

In reality, it takes more than passion to run a successful business. Most successful business owners would tell you that they were very surprised to discover what goes into making a business actually work for them. Usually, the surprise is how little they knew about the nuts and bolts of running a business. Consider the example of a man who developed his singing skills and then started a highly successful coaching business which teaches people how to sing. He knew the craft of singing. He knew the equipment he needs to use such as microphones. But what he wasn’t prepared for was managing a staff and managing the spreadsheet behind the business. Also, he has to learn sales and marketing skills as well.

Remember: your technical skills won’t work for you if you don’t have people skills / sales and marketing skills / business skills.

If you are thinking of going to Eastern Europe and running an internet business so that you can leverage the low cost of living there and save more money for yourself, you must plan ahead – great ideas take time.

Yes, most ideas require time to take off. A musician who wants to go professional needs to find gigs first. An accountant who decides to start her own business must set up an office and line up clients first. These all take a lot of time. Therefore, the more realistic you are about how much time your idea will take and how much money you will need to spend before revenue rocks up, the better prepared you will be. A new venture requires a tremendous amount of guesswork, yet you can be as realistic as possible.

“Making first-world money while living in Eastern Europe is a very smart move.”