5 Ways to Spend Your Free Time More Productively


Nowadays everyone is constantly busy with something. But being busy doesn’t mean we’re using our time efficiently.
It’s sad to say this, but most people completely waste their time. And time is our most valuable resource.
We can’t make more of it like we can make more money for example. So it’s wise to use our time in a way that will benefit us.
When we’re bored, what do we usually do?
Most of us end up being glued to a phone, TV or a computer screen.
That might ease our boredom at the moment, and we might not even consider that time to be wasted. But there’s an opportunity cost.
That time could’ve been spent on a different, more valuable activity. Specifically on something that could actually benefit us greatly in the future.
This is why I’ll share with you 5 things that will help ease your boredom, and teach you to use your free time more productively.

1. Reading

I know what you might be thinking:
“What?”
“Reading?”
“No way…”
“That’s boring.”
But hear me out.
Reading is extremely underrated.
Many people dislike it because when they were younger they were forced to read. Especially in school, they were mostly given books, that weren’t that interesting or weren’t relevant to them.
This made people hate reading. And I totally get that.
But when you have the option to voluntarily choose which book you’re going to read, you can understand why it’s enjoyable.
When you actually have an interest in the topic, books become exciting and fun.
Not only can they help ease your boredom, but they’re also one of the best ways to expand your knowledge.
This can give you a massive competitive advantage, especially if you read books about the field you’re working in.
There’s a reason why most people that make it to the top, read a lot more than the average person.
They’re able to develop skills and gain knowledge that they otherwise wouldn’t have. Or it would take them longer to get to that level on their own.
This is why whenever I go somewhere, whether it’s a doctor’s appointment or somewhere else where I know I’ll have to wait, I always bring a book with me.
And when I look around the room, most people are just scrolling on their phones, browsing social media or watching cat videos. I have nothing against that, it’s their choice.
But if you’re looking to get ahead in life, you might want to stop scrolling and start reading.
Most people don’t read anything after they’ve finished school. This is why reading just a few key books can be a massive advantage for you.
I recommend finding books that will help you better understand the world around you, and those that expose you to new ideas and philosophies.

2. Planning and Goal Setting

People often forget why they’re pursuing something in the first place. While some may not even be sure what they’re supposed to be doing in their daily life.
This lack of direction then often shows up as boredom. That’s why having goals is important.
They are like a compass that guides you forward. Plus they provide you with the inspiration and motivation to get stuff done.
If you don’t have a list of goals yet, now is the perfect time to make one.
Setting goals is fun and you get a nice dopamine rush when you imagine yourself achieving them.
But if you don’t want your goal to just be a wish, you need to create a plan on how you’re going to reach it.
It’s been well researched that:
When you plan out your goals, you’re more likely to follow through and achieve them.
But it’s also necessary that you write them all down, on a physical piece of paper, and not just leave them floating somewhere at the back of your mind.
You see, your brain likes to filter out things, that it deems less important.
When you write down your plans, you’re using more regions of your brain, giving the information more influence and importance.
This means you’re more likely to remember it, and follow-through. Plus you give the information some structure, so it’s not just a pile of mumbo-jumbo flying around inside your head.
Furthermore, a physical list will serve as a visual reminder.
Every time you look at it, you’ll be reminded of what you’re supposed to be doing and why you’re doing it in the first place.
Personally, I love going through the lists I made in the past because I can see how much progress I’ve made so far.
And it usually re-ignites the spark to continue grinding forward. So try it out for yourself, and set some goals and plans for the future.

3. Exercise

Exercise is something everyone knows is good and should be done frequently, but for some reason not everyone does it.
Most people who exercise do it to look better in the mirror. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a nice side effect.
But there’s another reason why you should exercise, and why I’m motivated to do it personally is it improves our brain function.
When we exercise, our brain releases a cocktail of neurotransmitters, which balance our mood. Serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, etc.
They make us feel good, while reducing anxiety and depression.
But our brain also releases something called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This protein supports the survival of our brain neurons while boosting the growth of new synapses.
To put it simply, it preserves and grows new brain cells. This allows you to make better connections and remember more of what you learn.
Now exercise doesn’t necessarily mean an intense gym workout or a sweaty run. Taking a walk has already been shown to have similar brain benefits.
There’s a reason why some Greek philosophers taught their lectures while walking and moving around.
They might not have known the science behind it, but they probably noticed the positive brain effects.
Another way exercise benefits us, is by helping us disconnect from external stimuli.
Nowadays, when we feel bored for even just a few minutes, we very quickly reach for our phones.
We’re constantly stimulating our brains with external distractions and we never really give our minds a proper break.
But have you ever noticed that when you take a shower, you suddenly have a ton of new ideas?
You’re thinking about life, processing your day, creating plans for the future, etc.?
It’s not the shower that does this. It’s you finally disconnecting from all the external stimuli.
Basically, you step off your mind’s gas pedal.
Instead of taking in new information, you’re letting your brain process existing information. And exercise helps you do that. It allows you to properly disconnect.
So if you’re bored and have some time to spare, leave your phone at home and go for a jog or a long walk. You just might return with some insights and ideas you didn’t have before.

4. Clean Up Your Room

Take a look around right now.
Chances are that the space you’re in is far from clean.
However, you might want to change that, as our physical environment has a huge impact on our cognition, behavior, and decision making.
When our surroundings are a mess, so are we.
But once we remove all this visual clutter from our environment, we’re able to focus and process information much better. Because there are fewer things competing for our attention.
Now I know that it can be difficult to bring yourself to even begin cleaning.
Often we dread starting because the place is a complete mess. And we believe that we have to clean the whole thing at once, which of course can be a lot of work.
But you shouldn’t aim for sparkling clean. Instead, you should just go for something slightly cleaner.
Straighten out the carpet, throw those leftovers into the trash, arrange all the papers laying around and organize your workspace a little bit.
Sure, it might not be perfect, but it’s better than it was before, which is the most important part.
Remember, you’re not aiming for perfectly clean. Just cleaner.
Now if you’re laying on the couch right now, with a phone glued to your face, and you don’t feel like moving at all, then at least clean up your phone.
Clean up your photo gallery and remove the apps you don’t use.
You probably have them there “just in case”, but let’s be real. If you haven’t used them in months, you probably won’t need them in the future. And if you do, you can always re-install them.
You can also do this on your computer, by cleaning up some files or your desktop.
Or perhaps, more importantly for some of you: clean up your search history.

5. Improve or Learn a New Skill

Education doesn’t end when you finish school and it’s not confined to the classroom either.
You will find that the most accomplished people in the world are those who never stop learning. They’re constantly improving their skills and incorporating new knowledge.
So when you don’t know what to do with your free time, that’s a perfect opportunity to try something new.
When we get to experience something novel, we tend to get a surge of motivation, as long as we find the activity enjoyable.
It doesn’t matter if it’s learning to draw or learning a completely new instrument. The motivation and positive mood we get from this new experience can then spread to other areas of our lives.
Other activities that usually aren’t as enjoyable, tend to become more fun as well because we’re in a better mood overall.
In other words, you can take the momentum you get from this novel experience and take it to other areas.
So spice up your day a little bit, and explore something new. You never know when this additional knowledge might come in handy.
I hope that when you’re bored and feel like you have nothing to do, that you pick at least one of the things I listed.
Remember, time is our most valuable resource. You don’t want to let it go to waste. Instead, make sure to get the most out of it.