How to Get the Most Out of Your Free Time

If you ask people how they spend their free time, you might hear about how little free time they have. For many, after the workweek and family obligations are complete, there’s little time for anything else – however, there’s usually some free time available, and it’s important to maximize its impact. It might consist of binge-watching television, talking on the phone, or surfing the internet. Finding creative ways to renew your mind, body, and spirit is vital for maximizing your free time. Here’s a practical approach for getting the most out of your free time.

Where Is Your Free Time Spent?

If you don’t know where you spend your free time, you’re not alone. It’s easy to unintentionally let those free blocks get overwhelmed with other things, and it’s important to actively protect your downtime.

One way to track where you spend your free time is to make a table of the days of the week in either 30 or 60-minute chunks. Next, fill out your work hours and other obligations for each day. Once you do that, you’ll be left with the times where you’re free, and you can plan for how you want to use it. After doing this, you may look at your calendar and find that you need to make more time for yourself, or you may find that you just need to be more intentional about using your free time.

Uncover Your Interests

Do you have trouble enjoying yourself when you do have downtime? That can lead to frustration and stress in other parts of your life. Uncover your interests by making a list of activities that you enjoy; write them down as they come into your head without being concerned about practicality, expense, or whether they fit your schedule. It might not be easy at first, and you may have to go back years to discover what you did for fun and recreation, but this is an important step in making sure you know what activities are worth your precious free time. Rank the top five and for each, ask yourself how the activity enriches your life. Does it stimulate your mind, creativity or give you hope? If your selections are too expensive or impractical, think of more achievable versions.

Make a Commitment

Start today and commit yourself to strive for a better work/life balance. Don’t let your purpose in life be just survival. Consider this renewal time vital to your existence and not a luxury. Work/life balance means different things to different people, but some downtime should be part of everyone’s weekly routine – and unless you make it a conscious priority in your life, it might not ever happen. By making your free time enjoyable, you can ensure that you’re making yourself a priority too.

Create a Plan

You know what will enrich you. Now that you’re committed to using your free time in a way that will make you feel happy, create a plan to participate in one or more of the activities you listed at least once a week. Schedule these activities for yourself, and don’t feel bad about taking this time to do something fun.

Sometimes we can feel guilty about doing things for ourselves but try to remember that your free time should be spent how you want to spend it whenever possible. It’s not always easy, and there will be an infinite number of conflicts to steal your free time but, try to schedule your free time like any other appointment (only this one is with yourself). If you can find, schedule, and commit to spending your free time wisely, you won’t regret it!

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