Usually, the best way to spend our free time is to relax or have fun with our friends. However, if you have a little bit more spare time that you keep wasting on Facebook. You need to stop. There are far better ways (productive things) to use your free time.
I think the secret that helps successful people to be always one step ahead of others, is the way they use their free time. Normal people think of free time as an equivalent to fun and relaxing. However, successful people think of it as a time to improve themselves and speed up their progress towards their goals. We often don’t notice the hard work being done by them. We think they’re just innately smarter than us when the truth is a lot simpler than that. They just put more time on things than we do.
I’ve collected a huge list of productive things to do in free time. Each on of them is going to take no more than 45 minutes to get done. Some of them can be done in less than 15 minutes.
The list below contains things that are either can be repeated (weekly, from time to another) or can take a long period of time like taking an online course (it’s going to take a few weeks). As you can see, I wanted to make this list just about productive things that can be repeated and have a big impact on the long run. Have fun !
1. Read a Book
Set a daily routine for this one because it’s SUPER important. Set a specific time in the day when you read 30 min of a good book. For instance, I always read 30 min of a book every night before going to sleep.
You’re free to choose any time that suits you. Just make sure that you’ll always dedicate that specific time to reading no matter what.
2. Learn Things on YouTube
YouTube is a great source of learning new things. There are hundreds of educational channels that cover almost everything you can think of. Yeah, pretty much everything. Even how to become batman is explained on YouTube. Here are two of my favorite educational YouTube channels :
- CrashCourse: It covers a wide rang of topics such as Anatomy & physiology, Astronomy, politics, History, Economics etc…
- Vsauce: By its creator Michael Stevens who covers rhetorical questions such as What if everyone jumped at once? It’s a must-see channel that will blow your mind.
For more educational channels, read this Mashable magazine post about 10 Youtube Channels that will Make you Smarter.
3. Rethink Your life
It’s good to review your goals and the direction that your life is heading to from time to time. It’s a way of reassuring to yourself that you’re in the right way. It boosts your motivation to keep working on your goals.
However, if you haven’t set any goals yet. Take some time off and think about your life and the things that you wanna do with it. Break down your life purpose to several mid-term goals. Then, split up these goals to a list of actionable tasks that you’ll need to do to achieve those goals. Take a look at this post that will certainly help you.
4. Plan For The Following Week
Review your schedule for the upcoming days. Make any necessary changes to adopt your schedule to your appointments and duties.
Eliminate any tasks that aren’t necessary or can be easily outsourced to another person. Fill the free spots with some of the activities mentioned in this post.
6. Learn a New Language
A new language is a door to a new culture. It’s another view of the world. Learning new languages is both fun and professionally helpful. It’s another asset added to your disposal. There are many sources where you can learn online such as:
Check this post from Inc. magazine: 7 Places To Learn New Language For Free
7. Learn Cooking
Cooking is a must-learn skill. Not knowing how to cook leads you, mostly, to eat fast food which is unhealthy. Cooking is actually a lot easier than you think. Besides, it’s really so much fun. Here are some of the best cooking channels out there on YouTube. They’re 100% practical and explain many easy-to-do recipes.
It’s always a great feeling we get when we help others without expecting nothing in return. Find a cause you care about or that is somehow related to you. Offer help and contribute to that cause. For example, you can volunteer for a few hours at a nursing room or you can just help cleaning a public space.
It’s doesn’t matter what you do exactly. What matters is to do something, at least once every month, for people that you don’t even know. And, of course without expecting nothing in return.
9. Work on Your Skills
Spend your free time on improving skills that you’re not really good at. Let’s take for example public speaking. If you always feel intimidated when speaking in front of a group of people, you need to work on that. Don’t run back into your comfort zone and say that I’m not cut out for public speaking.
Keep in mind that it’s a skill. It’s exactly like writing or cooking. It takes a little bit of practice and mastering a few techniques to be a good public speaker. There are many ways to do that such as seminars and online courses. You only need to take action.
10. Take an Online Course
There are thousands of courses available online. You can find courses about any topic that comes to your mind. However, this can be distracting. Avoid taking two or more online courses at the same time. So, pick a course and stick with it until you finish it. Then, move to another one.
Here are some of the best known websites that offer online courses. You’re going to find that some courses are free while other more advanced courses aren’t. Here are my favorite list:
11. Organize You Desk
One of the bad habits that can kill your productivity is having a messy work space. Your brain will get distracted by the mess around you which will decrease your focus.
So, if you have like 5 minutes or so you can use it to clean and organize your desk. Remove any trash files or empty mugs from your desk. Reorganize your files and papers. This might seem silly. But, keep in mind that little things like this one are what making the difference.
12. Start an Online Part Time Job
If you can squeeze a few hours of your weekend, then you’re perfect for this. The internet is full of job opportunities. You can work as a freelancer by providing services that you’re good at. For instance, writing articles, working as a virtual assistant, giving testimonials, designing a logo, data entry work or anything.
Some of these services require no experience such as data entry or testimonials while some demand having a particular skill like design or coding. There are many platforms who connect freelancers (like you) and people who are searching for services. The best out there are:
Did you know that you can exercise without leaving your house and without no equipment ? It’s really possible and the results are undeniable. Make it a daily routine to wake up and do a 10-15 minutes exercise. This is perfect for people who don’t like going to gyms. It will take only 10-15 minutes per day but its impact is huge.
There are many different types of workouts that you can do at home. Here is a post from FitWatch magazine explaining 10 Ways You Can Exercise At Home Without Any Equipment.
14. Go for a walk
Sometimes the best way to spend our free time is by going out. Go to a near park or any place that is quite. You don’t want anyone to disturb you. Take a walk. Enjoy the beauty of nature around you. Relax for a few minutes away from life’s stress.
It’s a great way to eliminate stress and regenerate more energy. If you haven’t ever done it, then you should. You should make it a weekly routine. How about doing it now ? turn off your phone and go out there. You’ll feel a lot better.
15. Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to make use of your time. Especially if you’re on a train or waiting for something. It’s very efficient. What you need to do is to download some episodes of the podcasts that you like and save them on your phone. So, whenever you’re stuck somewhere you just put your headphones and enjoy.
There are thousands of podcasts out there. It’s better to listen to a mix of different genres like comedy, business or anything that you’re interested in. Here’s a list from HubSpot that I highly recommend: 8 of The Best Podcasts You Should Be Listening To.
16. Meet up With a Friend
I know that you’re wondering how can this be considered as a productive thing ?
For the short-term, it’s just a wasted time that won’t get you anywhere near your goals. However, in the long run, you build trust and strong bond with that person. As a result, this friend will trust you and will be willing to help if you need anything. The time you spend with a person is not wasted. It’s an investment which aims to strengthen you relationship with him/her.
Let’s face it. We all need help from time to another. I know you can get it for money. But, that’s not always an option. So, why don’t you invest your time on building a strong network of people who trust you and willing to help you ?
17. Review Your Projects
A project here can be anything. It can be your presentation at school or a new business. The idea here is to audit the whole process from A to Z.
For example, if you run a business and you’re launching a new product. You should use this free time to go all over the launching strategy again. Consider yourself as a potential customer who happens to see a Facebook ad of your new product for instance. Put yourself in his shoes. Imagine how he will react with every detail of your ad and product. Look for any loophole that you might have missed in the planning phase. This way, you’ll make sure that everything is as it should be.
18. Clean Your Inbox
All over the time, our interests can change. So, you may still receiving newsletters from websites that you used to like. But, you’re not interested anymore in what they have to offer. The right thing to do is to unsubscribe from their newsletter. This can be easily done in less than a minute if it’s one newsletter. If there are many of them, we kind of get lazy and we put it off.
The good news is that there’s a less time-consuming way to get rid of these annoying newsletters. It’s a web app called Unroll Me. This app helps you manage your email subscriptions easily by showing the complete list of your subscriptions. You can choose either to unsubscribe or to keep it in inbox. It’s a lifesaver.
You can use it for free here: Unroll me
19. Write A Stop Doing List
We usually focus on what we need to do in order to get more money, happiness, comfort… That’s good thinking though. But, sometimes, it’s not about what we don’t do and should be doing. Sometimes, the problem is in the things we do. Some of these things are doing us more harm than good. Our job is to identify them and eliminate them.
That’s why it would be very productive to have a stop doing list. So, grab a piece of paper and jot down everything that you need to stop doing. Keep updating this list regularly. Keep track on your progress. You’ll notice that some things that you thought were helpful are actually hurting you.
20. Go To Networking Events
Attending networking events that are related to your job or business are a must-do task. Participating in these events has a lot of benefits that you can’t get anywhere else. Here are a few benefits that you should consider :
- Expand your network of people who work in the same industry as you do.
- Gain more knowledge about what others are doing to develop their businesses that you might need to consider.
- You’ll be updated on the latest trends and opportunities in your industry.
- Events are, usually, the best place for B2B businesses to attain new clients.
21. Take a nap
Studies have proved that naps can be really useful to your body. A quick nap of 30 min can make all the difference. It will recharge your energy. Consequently, you’ll be ready for any work that is waiting on your queue.
The next time you feel tired, take a quick nap. You may think that it’s 30 min wasted while the truth is that it will boost your energy and ultimately your focus will increase. As a result, you brain performance will be at its peak which will help you get done all of your work.