Chances are you don’t come by free time often. I know that for me, free time is a luxury. With working full time and pursuing my dreams on the side, free time is not something I have become familiar with. However, once in a while I’ll find that I do have an hour here or there to do whatever I want.
A quick side note I want to address is that I’ve come to realize if you’re working toward a goal, you never really have free time. That’s why I choose to view my free time as an investment in myself and my future. The following 10 options are all activities that are great for free time but also a positive investment in your future.
1. Long To-Do List
Do you ever say, “When I have time I’ll eventually get to that”? I know I’ve said that plenty of times. Well, free time is the perfect time to cross some of those items off of your list.
It helps to make a running list of everything you want and need to do. I like to keep my lose to-do list in the notes of my phone. From there, if I have some free time, I pick an item from my list and get it done. This makes my time well spent and helps to eliminate things that I need to take care of.
2. Start a Business
Starting a business could be as simple as starting a blog. Many businesses are actually formed during free time after work. This doesn’t mean it’s easy, it just means that you choose to dedicate your free time into investing for your future.
If starting a business isn’t something that interests you, write that book idea you’ve been putting off or start that YouTube channel that’s been in the back of your mind. If you want to use your free time to earn an extra income, sign up for a side hustle like Uber or Doordash.
The point is that you use your free time to create something you can call your own.
3. Learn a New Language
One of my new year’s resolutions for this year was to learn a new language (Spanish). I absolutely love spending my free time studying Spanish and familiarizing myself in the language.
I use an app called Duolingo which is the best app I’ve found for learning a new language. The best part is that it’s free. Another option for studying a foreign language is through podcasts as there are great podcasts created for the purpose of helping people learn new languages.
4. Podcast, Read (or Listen to) a Book
Speaking of podcasts, they are a great way to utilize free time wisely. I have a few podcasts I love to listen to when I’m bored or simply passing the time. Podcasts are great because there are topics on anything you can think of.
I like to listen to a podcast on subjects that interest me and the subjects that I want to learn more about. For me, podcasts act as a relaxation tool as well as a learning experience.
If podcasts aren’t your thing, try an audiobook. Audible has almost any book you can think of and for an affordable price. If you’re looking for books that are specific to investing in your future, try a self-help/motivation book. They can be a great alternative to a book of prose and can really stimulate the mind.
For the creative who hasn’t spent much time creating, painting is a great way to spend free time. It’s easy to get caught up in your work and forget that you love painting (or drawing). Solve this problem by taking a trip to your local craft store and buying your painting necessities. Set up your canvas in a place where you can leave it up for long-term and visit your art whenever you have a few minutes to spare. This can be so relaxing and be nurturing to your creative craft.
Since we are using free time as an investment in our future, exercise is one of the best investments for our health. You don’t need to do an hour of exercise a day in order for it to count. If after you get home from work and you have 30 free minutes, squeeze in a quick workout three to four times a week.
The exercise is great for your body and will get your endorphins going to give you the mentality to re-focus for the rest of your day. You can also use your free time at work to squeeze in a few minutes of exercise. Read about how I work out during my full-time job.
7. Meal Prep
If you have free time on Sundays, use it to meal prep for the week. Meal prep saves money, time and helps you eat healthier. Depending on your weekly schedule, you can meal prep breakfast, lunch or dinner.
I personally cook all my lunch meals for the workweek on Sunday evenings and I’ve found it is one of the best uses of my free time. Feel free to also combine meal prep with listening to a podcast or audiobook.
Read here to learn my favorite breakfast green smoothie ideas that are easy to meal prep.
8. Leave the House
Instead of staying home and watching tv or playing video games, surround yourself with a new experience. Try going to a museum, a new restaurant, comedy club, concert, or a movie.
If you’re feeling outdoorsy, go on a hike. If you can afford to, take a mini-vacation. The point is to change up your environment and experience something other than work. This way, free time turns into memories and time well spent.
9. Take a Nap
I personally am not a nap person because I work from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. However, for someone who works from home, runs their business, or can get away with nap breaks at work, a nap could make all the difference.
Don’t believe me? Check out this article on how the most successful people of all time take daily naps. Who knows, maybe I will add a nap into my daily routine. I definitely am always exhausted!
10. Spend Time with Family and Friends
For me, the most important option on this list is to spend time with those who you love. One of the worst things that could happen is living with the regret of not spending time with loved ones.
Spending time with friends and family doesn’t have to be a big event. It could be something as simple as watching a movie together, having coffee, or playing board games. The point is to never get too busy that you forget about your loved ones. They truly are irreplaceable.
There you have it, 10 ways to maximize your free time. Next time you have a few minutes to yourself, try one of these steps and invest in your future.