Whoa, whoa, whoa! Plan my free time? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Actually, no. By planning your free time, you are helping to ensure that it will happen, instead of just making it to the end of another day/week/month in which you didn’t take time for yourself. What can you do in your free time?
Chat with a friend.
Work on a project/craft.
Play a game (that Candy ain’t going to Crush itself!)
Plan a vacation.
Those are just some ideas. There are plenty more you could add. So, let’s go through the reasons you want to start planning your free time.
1. Encourage self-care
Think of the phrase “pay yourself first” but applied to your free time. This doesn’t mean you have to start your day with free time (though you could), but rather that you actually have it scheduled. You know that no matter what else happens today/this week/this month, you will have made time for something you truly care about outside of your work and home responsibilities.
2. Give yourself something to look forward to
Closely related to the idea of self-care is the motivation that comes with having something on your calendar that you are looking forward to. That can help you get through the tasks in front of it more easily.
3. Give yourself more control
So many people feel “out of control” these days in relation to time and calendars. Rather than just being captive to what others are demanding of you, you are staking your claim to your own demands of yourself. This increased agency will lead to better management of your other tasks as well.
4. Get up
It’s now well-known that simply sitting in your chair for hours and hours isn’t the best way to work. By having things (even if it’s a small 5-15 minute break) that break up your work, you’ll have a reason to get up, move around, and keep yourself from staying too long in one position.
5. Be more productive
More and more it is being acknowledged that the most productive workers have proper balances in their lives. By giving yourself more free time, you’re reducing your stress and necessarily becoming more productive.
6. Create buffer
As we know, sometimes meetings run long or start late, or sometimes clients don’t get you what you need on time. By having free time blocked out in your calendar, instead of simply being frustrated when these things happen, you can dynamically shift around based on the activities you have planned for yourself. Again, instead of being only acted upon, you can take more agency into your hands.
7. Be more creative
Aimlessness or boredom can boost creativity. I know, we were never told this when we were younger because, well, you don’t tell an 8-year old who complains, “I’m bored,” that that’s a wonderful thing and that some creativity is sure to commence! But seriously, studies have shown that there are many instances in which the mind’s activity during periods of boredom or aimlessness can lead to more creativity.
8. Be intentional
The most successful people don’t simply expect things to happen for themselves. They help make them happen. If you want more free time, you’re going to need to plan for it. It won’t magically appear in your calendar. You need to put it there.
This content first appeared in our Open Calendar Club email newsletter.
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