In today’s world, there is such a pressing sense of urgency, of ‘busyness.’ There’s this idea that if you aren’t moving at a quick pace, you’re already falling behind or missing out. More often than not, we feel rushed, or that we’re running out of time, or not using free time wisely, even when that’s not the case.
As we fill our schedules with commitments and obligations, tasks and projects, social events and side hustles, free time is hard to come by. That’s why when we do find ourselves with a few extra minutes, we must take advantage.
Here are ways to make the most of those spare moments, even when you feel you don’t have enough.
1. Prioritize your free time.
First and foremost, figure out what needs to be done. Then focus on doing the most essential things first, leaving the less important items for later. That way, if you find yourself with a few extra minutes at the end of a shift/day etc., you may still be able to knock off an item or two, without feeling stressed that your must-dos didn’t get completed.
2. Create a ‘quick item’ to-do list.
Chances are, when you have free time, you don’t have a lot of it. That’s why it pays off to be prepared. The next time you have a second, jot down a few tasks that you need to get done but won’t take too much of your time (perhaps things that are important, but not too pressing, in case you don’t really get to them—example: sorting through junk mail, ripping off relevant coupons, filtering through/responding to personal emails, etc.).
When you have a pre-made list, it’s easy to know where to start and jump on those things immediately, even when you’re low on time.
3. Be productive on social media.
If you’re a big social media user, try, when you have free time, to focus your attention elsewhere. Though it can be incredibly difficult (as social media can be addictive!) pull yourself away you’re your phone/computer—this will help you to be productive, as opposed to slipping into bad habits and wasting precious time mindlessly surfing the net/scrolling through the newsfeed.
If you’re not that big into social media, use your free time to update a status, connect with other accounts, or boost your engagement through actively using the app/program. Though it may seem like a useless way to spend your time (especially if you’re not a regular social media user), you will actually help in terms of analytics if you’re staying relevant, as opposed to ignoring the account(s) altogether.
4. Actively search opportunities.
Use any free moments you have to reach out to potential advertising companies for partnerships, to look into remote/regular jobs, to edit and send out applications, to reach out to people/companies for opportunities to collaborate, etc.
Things like this won’t just come knocking on your door—you have to be active in the pursuit of what you want and in making use of your time wisely, you can actually open more doors than you would imagine!
5. Take a break.
If you find yourself working an excessive amount, or staying focused on career-related tasks for the majority of the day, when you have free time, indulge in it. Instead of jumping back on your email or crafting a work message, instead, do something creative, take a walk, close your eyes, exercise, meditate, etc. This will help you to refocus your mind, energy, and attention.
6. Absorb new information.
Don’t think of free time as goofing off time—instead, work on promoting and building your mind. Save podcast episodes and listen to them when you have a spare moment. Open up an app and leave it for when there’s a gap in your day to read, watch an informative video, etc.
Though there’s nothing wrong with enjoying free time, it’s just as important to redirect your brain to something else that will keep you mentally stimulated.
7. Get social.
One thing I try to implement in my daily schedule (especially as someone who works remote/from home full time) is social interaction. Because I spend the majority of my day on a computer writing, crafting, brainstorming, emailing, etc. I don’t always get to talk to people face-to-face or even hear their voice!
It’s become very valuable for me to have social interaction, so in my free time I’ll call a family member or friend, have a chat with a coffee shop barista, walk around a shop and ask the clerk questions, etc. Being social is a great way to make sure my days are well-rounded, while not wasting my free time in the slightest.