Are you spending your free time wisely?
I’ll tell you, I love a good Netflix marathon as much as the next girl, but it’s not a sustainable plan for every night of the week. Especially as a busy creative type! I prefer to find ways to use my downtime that pull double duty to improve my health, my life—and my career.
The good news is that even small alterations in how you spend your free time can boost your mood and energy. You just need to know where to start!
I’ve put together quick tips to help you properly prep for time off (yes, you heard that right, but don’t worry, it’s super simple!) and easy activities that will uplift the vibe of your leisure time.
Get ready to uplevel!
Keep These 4 Things In Mind Before You Take A Break
1) Create structure.
Researcher and author of the book Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, believes the key to not wasting your free time is to plan for it. You’ll be less likely to indulge in pointless activities and actually feel happier and more motivated after your break.
2) Take it slow.
Even though you’re structuring your free time, it doesn’t mean you have to speed through a long list of to-do items. Slow down and savor your downtime. Focus on one task or activity at a time, and don’t overbook your schedule.
3) Choose high-leverage activities.
You may already be familiar with the 80/20 rule that says 80% of your results come from 20% of your work. This 20% consists of actions that offer the biggest rewards for the least time, money, energy, and manpower. So recognizing and implementing actions that move you forward faster will make your free time that much more satisfying.
I’ll share some of my favorite high-leverage activities in just a minute.
4) Keep it offline.
It’s so tempting to start scrolling as soon as you have a free moment, but social media is a HUGE vacuum for time. So when you finally get a sweet break from your busy day, commit to stowing the smartphone. This is time for you, not the latest TikTok recipe hack. 😉
8 Ways To Spend Your Free Time Wisely
Here are eight high-leverage activities that will not only benefit your mental health, but set you up for future success by making life easier down the road.
1) Look on the bright side.
Positive affirmations may seem cheesy, but they sure do make an impact on your wellbeing. Speaking kind words to yourself and sending love out into the world first thing in the morning sets the tone for your whole day. And it’s a great pick-me-up for your mid-day work break.
Here are some loving affirmations you can put into practice this week.
2) Spend it with good company.
Hang out with people you enjoy being around. You don’t want to finish your break and come back to work feeling resentful, irritated or bummed out. Plus, nurturing relationships with caring friends is a building block for a strong support system.
3) Focus on your future.
There is no one to more wisely spend your extra time on than yourself! Personal development is necessary for you to grow and thrive in both your career and your life.
In fact, if you’re a busy creative, I bet you spend most of your time taking care of your clients’ needs before your own. Set aside free time to establish personal goals and intentions, so you can continue expanding your badass empire.
4) Get an education.
Why not use your free time to expand your mind? YouTube has a vast array of educational videos, TedTalks and documentaries to watch. Or enroll in an online course on a platform like Coursera, Udemy, or Skillshare. Many classes are free or low-cost, and you can fit them into smaller periods of time.
If you struggle with the idea of structuring your free time, try aligning it with your workout. That regular endorphin rush is so important for your physical and mental well-being, so combine your self reflection with some essential movement.
6) Organize your finances.
Not living paycheck to paycheck, having an emergency fund, paying off your debt, maintaining a robust 401K, being able to drop down cash without guilt or hesitation for an amazing vacation or even just basic necessities… These should be everyone’s financial goals.
Dedicating downtime to updating your budget and staying on top of your money is a fantastic high-leverage activity that will continue to pay dividends (pun intended).
7) Squeeze in a good book.
If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, if you’re a multitasker, or if you have trouble sitting still to read anything longer than a magazine, give audiobooks a chance.
Not only can you now borrow them from the library system online (thank you, technology!), but there is a whole collection of free public domain audiobooks accessible at LibriVox. (P.S. Try LoyalBooks for a large selection of languages.)
And you don’t necessarily need to be online to listen to them. 😉
Plus, audiobooks expose you to another form of the acting craft. Dive into a story narrated by Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, Reese Witherspoon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anne Hathaway, LeVar Burton, and many more, and discover how award-winning acting chops translate into a different medium.
Giving your time, energy, care and wisdom to others is like giving a second gift to yourself. It’s scientifically proven to make us feel great, so whatever cause is important to you, explore ways you can join in and help out.
How do you usually spend your free time? I’d love to know which of these activities you’re going to try out this week to maximize your downtime. Let me know by posting in the comments below or in the Badass Beauty Club on Facebook.
LOVE + positive changes!