February 16, 2017
Anonymous in Health

How to Reclaim Your Free Time

Where did the day go? How many times have you said that over the last few weeks? With all the pressures of work, family life and keeping up with friends, it's easy to forget to stop and smell the roses. But despite all the competing pressures of modern life, there are some easy ways to free up your time and feel more in control.

A good starting point is to sit down and think about the things you do now. Write down your activities in a typical day and how much time you spend doing them—are all of them necessary? Are there any you’re not finding particularly rewarding? Do you really need to watch all those TV shows? Learn to say no to things you don’t particularly want to do—have you agreed to go to that colleague’s birthday meal because you really want to, or because you just feel you ought to? Learn to say no and then the things you do say yes to will ultimately become much more rewarding.

Woman reading in bed

Another easy option is to reclaim your commute—make it enjoyable and meaningful instead of just dead time. If you’re commuting by train, bus or subway, the obvious one is to read a good book or listen to an interesting podcast or audio book. You can do either of those last two in your car as well (we’re not recommending you read a novel at the wheel, however...), or why not use the time to learn a language? With so many apps available now, the privacy of your vehicle is a perfect place to practice without having to worry about anyone hearing your mangled pronunciations.

If you are planning on doing something like learning a language, it helps to commit a set amount of time in advance. Setting yourself goals provides motivation and you get to feel good when you hit your targets—the same goes for other self-improvement activities like the gym or evening classes (although we find that paying in advance for these provides quite a lot of motivation in itself…).

Woman learning on commute

Next (and we realize this can be a tricky one), take as much control over your work life as you can, such as trying to cut out any unnecessary meetings. You could also make it a rule not to reply to, or check, work emails in your own time, and stick to it. Having set periods when you unplug from social media can work wonders as well.

And finally, make the most of your weekends. If you’ve got chores to do, dedicate a specific time slot for them and then set aside another period to reward yourself with something relaxing and fun. That’s far better than spending all day coming up with different ways to put off doing something, then finding the day’s done and the task you’ve been avoiding isn’t. And instead of using one of your precious days off to sit in traffic and battle the crowds on a shopping trip, why not just shop online? Using coupon companies like PromoPony means you can make big savings on a huge range of goods without having to leave your house, so you’re not only saving money but valuable time as well. Time that you can use to do something fun!  

Young couple rollerblading