Free time is a great thing.
It can be a source of a lot of positive in our lives.
But we have to be careful today of how we’re spending it. Lots of things are competing for our attention. None are necessarily bad, but it’s up to each person to identify what is most important to put time into those things.
If you’re struggling with free time allocation, here are a few ideas for new things that might work a little better.
There is a great Clive Davis documentary where Clive talked about the early portion of his career. He was given the opportunity to take a promotion. He said that he went home and thought about it all night before turning it down. He decided it was a great opportunity, but not right for him.
Thought about it…
That’s what he said. We often say that we will think about something, but it seems that we rarely take time to think these days. It’s easier to take up our free time with scrolling through social media or replying to texts or any number of things.
It’s ok to take time to sit and think. About anything. It’s usually more productive than watching TV or scrolling through social media or playing some game.
Some of the most successful people in history loved to walk. Steve Jobs is a recent example. He loved going for walks and would often take people with him. Colleagues. Friends. Family. He would conduct business dealings while walking.
Walking is incredibly healthy also. You can even combine it with thinking.
Exercise and a time to work out life’s most important and basic questions.
3. People Watching
People used to do this in all kinds of places. The park. The coffee shop. The bakery. The library.
Obviously you don’t want to be a creep, but it’s okay to watch what other people are doing. You can learn a lot about people and yourself by observing the world around you. How people interact. What they’re good at and what they struggle with.
Observation is often a source of inspiration. Especially for entrepreneurs.
This is kind of between the previous point and the next one. It’s just listening to the world around you. To nature. To urban noises. To conversations people are having. To the people you’re with at a particular time.
Imagine you’re out to dinner with friends. Two are having a conversation. You’re not really involved, but you could take the opportunity to listen instead of checking for updates on your phone.
Here are some tips for being a better listener in all situations.
5. Conversations With Strangers
Taking a learning mindset into encounters with others is a great lesson for life. Most successful people assume they can learn something from everyone they meet. It doesn’t matter what. You go into it with no expectations or presumptions about what you might learn. You just listen.
Conversations with strangers can be great. Some of the best conversations I’ve had have been with strangers in a bar during a quiet happy hour. Learning about their lives. Their skills. And much more.
But it can also work with people you know very well. Discover the “stranger” in them that you’ve never met. This has happened to me a few times with my parents. I ask a few different questions and learn new things about them and their lives that I never knew.
Free time is a scarce resource. But we have more of it than we often realize. We just have to be careful with how we allocate it. We control much of our time. We just have all these things today that are taking up our attention. If you’re struggling with free time then try including more of these things. It can help lead to good things.