Free time is hard to come by and easy to waste. Because moments of leisure are such a rarity, few people realize the value of spending them wisely. Each activity you devote attention to either helps you get closer to your goals or pulls you further away. Consequently, it pays to be mindful. Being intentional about your free time doesn’t mean you have to constantly be busy, just purposeful. Here are three areas to consider in order to make your free time more useful.
Modern life often requires us to wildly jump from activity to activity without a moment’s rest. For many of us, even a good night’s sleep is interrupted or postponed by the stress of tomorrow’s to-do list. Incessantly being on-the-go is not only unhealthy, but can lead to reduced productivity. If you are stressed, overworked and running on fumes, it’s nearly impossible to perform at your highest level. To limit the effects of day-to-day struggles, it’s important to decompress. Plan a mini-vacation, reflect on your day, strengthen your self-care routine or catch up on missed sleep. Use your free time to restore your physical, mental and spiritual health.
The second way to make your free time more meaningful is through activities that create progress in your life. Instead of using your spare moments carelessly, why not use them for your personal development? Think of skills you’d like to improve upon, passions you’d like to explore and stagnant areas you’d love to see grow. Even short bursts of self improvement efforts add up over time. Such tasks increase self esteem, overall happiness and can provide a mental escape. Try a few of these suggestions:
- Dive into your hobbies
- Start a new project
- Learn a new skill
- Practice a trade
- Further develop an area of expertise
The last option is to focus on regular maintenance. You’ve already successfully established many parts of your life that you value and hold dear; now, dedicate some free time to their upkeep. Instead of missing your water only when the well runs dry, do your part to maintain the things that are important to you. Which of your personal connections could use more attention? Which have you been neglecting? Consider all of your relationships: romantic, family, friendship and business related. Consider your health. Good health is easy to take for granted, but once it fails, it’s much more difficult to treat. Use your free time to stay a step ahead. Workout, meal prep and get enough sleep. Though these acts of maintenance may seem small, they truly do make a difference.
Hold yourself accountable by realizing you do have time to regularly tackle recuperation, progression and maintenance. The secret is to use your time wisely, no matter how full your schedule gets. Make use of your calendar and planning tools. Think ahead and follow through. And lastly, when unexpected free moments pop up, seize them! Once you master these three areas, you’ll notice amazing life transformations begin to take place.