There are only so many hours in the day, and more often than not, those hours are devoted to obligations. Some of these obligations in life we enjoy. However, there are many that drain us of any joy, and we continue as a society to search for how to find more time in the day to pursue the things we truly love. Learn how to get back more free time and start doing things that make you happy again.
Why do we need free time?
When we have more free time, there are so many benefits. Sometimes these benefits are unrealized until we are stressed out, overwhelmed and generally cranky with others. Some of the benefits of more free time and more self-care are as follows:
- We get to refocus on the things that matter.
- There is an opportunity to rest.
- Stress diminishes.
- Creativity increases.
- New ideas are generated.
- Time spent with family is more intentional.
- Time to exercise
Maybe right now there is not enough free time after work to enjoy your kids, exercise or hang out with friends. The benefits for your health, relationships, and general stress are amazing when your average free time per week increases.
Decide what you want to do with more free time
If you are going to learn how to get back more free time, you must first decide what you want to do with that found time. List out 3-5 activities you would do if you could find more free time for yourself. Make it a purposeful list.
What do you love to do? What is something you have not done in a long time but it would bring you great joy and happiness to be able to find time to enjoy it once more? Go ahead, write it down!
Make more free time happen!
Now that you have written down what you would do if you could figure out how to get back more free time, let’s make it happen!
1 – Cut out time in your schedule
If you want more free time, sometimes you just have to cut out the time deliberately. It is so easy to say we are too busy, or there is not enough time in the day. However, it all comes down to choices. You get to choose how you use your time. We all do. However, sometimes our obligations take us away from our choices. Every choice we make to spend time on something is a trade-off for time doing something else.
Schedule the free time if you have to. Have a planner? Write it down. Live by a calendar on your phone or computer, quite literally add a time block to do what you want to do. You will not regret being purposeful about something that matters to you and the benefits will be worth the trade-off. It could be as little as 30 minutes or as long as an entire weekend.
2 – Determine your time wasters
So much of our day, especially with technology, is spent as wasted time. How many of you have Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest? How many minutes or hours per day do you spend mindlessly surfing through these websites? That’s a choice for time spent. Choose differently today. Go do that one thing you have been dying to do. If it is relaxing on your bed for half an hour and mindlessly surfing Facebook, then do it.
Other common time wasters:
- Social media
- Talking with cube mates at work
- Taking a 20-minute shower (guilty)
- Reading news websites instead of getting ready for work or bed twenty minutes faster
- Being inefficient with errands or tasks at home
- General cell phone addiction
3 – Batch your time
One way you can get more free time back in your day is to be more efficient with your time. When you batch your time, you are setting yourself up to be more efficient with your errands or tasks.
For example, you can batch run your errands. I live in the middle of nowhere, so this is especially important. It is a waste of my gas money and time when I go to town just to run one short errand, as it is a 40-minute round-trip car ride. Even if you live in town, you can still save time by trying to do as many errands as possible in one trip. It may not give you back a lot of time today, but it will open up more time for the days to come.
You can also try batch cooking. Batch cooking saves me a ton of time in the kitchen, especially since we like to make a lot of our foods from scratch. If we are having roasted potatoes for dinner, I’ll go ahead and cut up enough potatoes to make two batches, that way we can have roasted potatoes with our breakfast for several days. Think about your meals for the week. Can you save time by prepping and preparing foods that are similar?
Related post: Save Time Grocery Shopping
4 – Cutout excess obligations
Learning how to get back more free time means cutting out excess obligations. Learn to say “no” to projects or volunteer opportunities you don’t really want to do and add no value to your priorities and goals.
Stop going to meetings that add no value, if you have the choice. If you are the one running meetings, stop having so many if it can be done in a quick email or fast conversation.
Related post: Simplify Life as a Working Mom with These 11 Lifehacks
5 – Postpone things that don’t need to be done now.
I am super guilty of blowing things out of proportion and thinking a task on my list has to be completed…right now. It causes me to feel overwhelmed and steals away time that could be used for something else.
My husband is amazing at reminding me that not all my “super important” tasks have to be done today. So, go ahead, give yourself permission to postpone a task and put more free time back in your day.
6 – Say “no” more often
Start saying “no” to obligations and tasks that add no value to what you do in your work or home life. I had an amazing boss ask me nearly every week, “But does it add value?” If the answer was “not really”, she would then ask, “Then, why do you do it?” I was often doing things because I thought I had to or because it looked good. Yet, if it added no value, it was a complete waste of my time.
Also start saying “no” to things that make you miserable, if you can at all help it. I hated sitting in the carpool line…with a passion. Now, I drive to school, park and wait outside for my kids. My kids love greeting me (they are young and I don’t embarrass them yet) and I get some time in the sunshine. It doesn’t matter if it’s dumping snow. I will always prefer standing outside to sitting in a line full of cars feeling miserable. It helps me meet two of my goals for more free time, spending more time outside and spending more time connecting with my community.
7 – Find help so you can get back more free time
If you want a surefire way to figure out how to get more free time in your day, hire a babysitter, trade sitting times with a friend, or find some form of help. You can use the time to take care of a lot of tasks at once so you have more free time the rest of the week or to enjoy whatever it was you wanted to do with your free time.
8 – Get up 30 minutes to an hour early in the morning
I hate getting up before the sunrise is even thinking about happening. However, on the days I get up early when I need more free time, I very rarely regret that decision. It doesn’t have to be a daily habit, but it could be something to try a couple of days out of the week.
9 – Stop multitasking and be more intentional
If you are working while eating lunch, stop. Science has proven that multi-tasking is not always the most efficient method for accomplishing tasks. That’s why time-blocking and batching tasks is so popular right now! Give yourself a break during the day. Use that time to reconnect with a friend or go surprise your kids by having lunch with them.
Be intentional about whatever it is you are doing right now, rather than trying to multi-task everything at once. Watching a movie with your kids? Leave your computer or phone in another room. Sit there with them. Enjoy the movie with them. Let this be your free time. Enjoy those snuggles!
More free time is possible!
Do you need more free time? It is possible! You have to make that choice, and you have to make the time. Become more efficient with your obligatory tasks, cut out the excess in your schedule, and be intentional with your choices. You will get back more free time, and you will find a little more joy in your day to day life.
Want to discover other ways to embrace a simple, happy life? Check out my Simple Living Lifestyle board on Pinterest.