Bored? 3 Productive Ways To Spend Your Free Time
How do you spend your free time?
Do you watch reruns of Friends? The Office? Maybe video games are your thing?
I’m on the Friends train. I could binge-watch the show every day, without fail. And binge-watch I did, for months. I rewatched Friends, Game of Thrones, Dexter, How To Get Away With Murder — you get it.
I was bored, and the only way that I could fill up my free time was with TV. Despite the large stack of books that were on my bedside table every night, I chose TV.
I was wasting my time and starting to get fed up with it. While the people I looked up to were writing books, creating incredible content, working on their business, I was laughing at Joey eating jam for the billionth time.
Your work consists of everything you need to do, and your leisure is your free time.
Young says splitting your life up this way isn’t exactly wrong, but the message contained within this split is that your work and your free time shouldn’t cross one another. While your work is productive, challenging, and efficient, your free time should be free of pressure and relaxing.
What’s the problem?
The problem with this thinking is that you start to believe that your work can’t be fun.
The belief that the most enjoyable moments of life are spent relaxing in the fruits of our labor doesn’t match the real world. — Scott H Young
Research has shown that the most enjoyable moments of our life are the ones in which we are most engaged.
Psychology researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says,
“Thus we have the paradoxical situation: On the job, people feel skillful and challenged, and therefore feel more happy, strong, creative and satisfied. In their free time, people feel that there is generally not much to do and their skills are not being used, and therefore tend to feel more sad, weak, dull, and dissatisfied. Yet they would like to work less and spend more time in leisure.”
I’m not saying that you should start working 24/7 in order to be happy.
I’m saying that there are ways you can stop wasting your time and make your free time more productively spent and highly more enjoyable in the grand scheme of things.
At the end of the day, the most precious thing we all have is time. If you waste it, you won’t ever be able to get it back. It’s wise to use your free time in a way that will inevitably benefit you.
Here are a few ideas to start with.
Read books outside of your comfort zone.
You saw this coming, didn’t you?
This is one of the most basic and simple ways to utilize your time productively. Reading will benefit you in so many ways that you’ve never even considered to be possible.
Personally, I’ve always been strictly a fiction-book reader. “I don’t want to mess with that self-help book stuff.” I’d say to myself.
Then I decided it was time to make a change. I wanted to figure out how I could live my ultimate dream life, and more importantly, I wanted to figure out how I could become the best possible version of myself.
I get it; you hate reading. Throughout your childhood, you were forced to read titles like, How to Kill a Mockingbird, or 1984 and now you avoid books at all costs. I 100% get it.
However, today you have the option to choose whatever books catch your eye. Identify what your interests are and look for a book within that specific niche.
If you want to get better at sports, search for authors who have won massive sports competitions and share advice on discipline or tactics. If you want to learn how to grow your business, find books on marketing or money management.
When it comes to reading, you have the entire world at your fingertips.
Also, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. My 16-year-old self refused anything but classics and fiction; now I go through philosophy, self-help, and psychological books like M&M’s.
Start incorporating exercise into your lifestyle.
You might be wondering why on earth anybody would advise you to work out during your free time. The audacity.
What if I told you exercise is good for your brain function? What if I said it’s going to improve your mood and make you feel 10x better than not working out? What if I said exercising would prolong your life and benefit your overall health?
What if I said it reduces anxiety?
Exercising doesn’t mean going to the gym for two hours and weight-lifting till your legs feel like Jell-O.
This could mean going on daily walks while listening to some good music or your favorite podcast. Doing yoga every weekend to relax and relieve tension within your body. Going on runs when you feel stressed.
Identify what works best for you and your lifestyle. The bottom line is if you’ve got free time on your hands, turn the TV/video games/phone off and move your body.
Pick up a new skill.
Let’s just say you’re already doing the two things I listed above. You love to read; you do it daily. Perfect.
You also exercise pretty frequently, you love it and the major benefits you get.
Now could be the perfect time for you to consider picking up a new skill and adding that to your resume and toolbox. It’s never too late to learn something new.
The most accomplished people in the world are the ones who never stop learning, the ones who are constantly improving their skills and incorporating new knowledge into their life.
When you’re learning something new, especially something you find interesting, you get a surge of motivation that will inevitably cross into other areas of your life.
Imagine picking up a new language; how will you feel once you can say a few sentences with ease?
How will you feel if you finally learned to play that guitar that’s been collecting dust in the corner of your bedroom?
You’ll feel proud and accomplished.
A few months ago, I decided to start a YouTube channel. The problem was I had no idea how to edit videos or even create videos. It took months to learn how to navigate Final Cut Pro, but eventually, I not only learned it, but I was able to create a video tutorial of how others can learn it too.
I felt pretty proud of that, especially considering I learned it all on my own in the first place. It motivated me to try to pick up other skills, too, like learning Italian, and so far, I’ve learned the basics and can understand certain words pretty well.
Yet another skill in my toolbox and another accomplishment in the works.
Knowledge is power. If you get into the habit of utilizing your free time to be productive, imagine the number of things you can accomplish.
Start with the following ideas,
- Read books outside of your comfort zone. If you’re like me and you love fiction, opt for a self-help book or something you would never have picked up a few months ago.
- Start incorporating exercise into your lifestyle. Take walks during your midday slump, go see the sunset, take a stroll in the morning and reward yourself with a cup of coffee. Get moving.
- Pick up a new skill. All of the skills you obtain in life are your unique weapons. Utilize them to take yourself places.
Have fun with it.
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