There are two different types of “free time.”
- The first type is structured into our weekly routines and is usually dominated by the weekend.
- The second is unpredictable and is usually the result of unexpected cancellations, higher than predicted work efficiency, or those rare mornings you just so happen to wake up before your alarm.
Although the following applies to both conditions, I want to focus on the latter.
Preparing for the Unexpected
Let’s say you have a lunch date at noon, but at 11:45, the other party has to cancel last minute.
An hour has just blown wide open on your calendar and you ask yourself, what now?
Do you fill that hour with more office work? Do you go and get lunch by yourself and spend the hour just as you would without the conversation? Do you waste the entire hour imagining what you would like to do with this extra free time because you never consider the possibility?
Here’s a recommendation (and can be applied and transformed whatever the situation may be):
- Don’t get caught without a food option. Bring a lunch to work with you as if this lunch date didn’t exist. If it gets cancelled, you’re all set for food. And, if it doesn’t, you have lunch for the next day.
- What’s on your planner? Don’t have a planner? Get a damn planner. Every Sunday evening, plan out your week to the nittiest and grittiest detail (like brushing your teeth detail), so every minute has an activity (even if it’s labeled, “relax”). Carry that planner with you everywhere you go. Make edits as needed. When that hour of free time pops up, take an item from your planner and move it up (be reasonable…you can’t do your laundry at the office)
- Don’t flounder. You might be tempted to fill that lunch date with an hour with coworkers. If you find that option equivalent to the one you had scheduled into your busy day, that lunch date probably shouldn’t have been scheduled in the first place. Something that takes time to set up should not produce the same benefit as something you do on a whim.
- Remember your why. Always remember your greater purpose. Why do you do what you do on a daily basis? If your work is your greatest passion, that’s fantastic! If your side hustle is your greatest passion, you should be chomping at the bit each moment free time pops up. Whatever “what” drives your “why,” do it in your free time.
The next time you happen upon this mystical creature called “free time,” you better be ready to take advantage because someone else pursuing your same dream is already doing it. Not to say they don’t deserve to reach the finish line, but they better be damn sure you’ll be joining them there.
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