“I have nothing to do…

…What should I do with my time?” is something I often ask myself, especially when I have a tiny bit of free time in between my busy schedule, or a lot of time during vacations. It can be really easy to figure out what to do when you have a list of ‘to do’s’ or when someone tells you what to do, but once that’s taken away from you, it becomes a bit more tricky. Often it’s the simple question of do I want to relax or do I want to find myself some work to do (laundry, cleaning up, a new self-directed project)? This often really depends on how tired you are or if you want to be doing something efficient. However, although difficult, I think it would be much more beneficial to have what we do in our free time more carefully thought out and not just left to chance (especially if we’re feeling good and are tired). The sum of what we do in our free time is really what defines who we are and how we live our lives as free people, beyond what is strictly necessary for sustenance.

So now that we know free time is important, what do we do with that free time? How I like to think about it is that what you do in your free time should be in alignment with your values and greater goal in life. However, the majority of us (including me) have a shaky idea of how our values would be physically manifested in our day to day life and absolutely no vision of what our greater goal in life is. So it seems to be that the simplest compromise would be to find out a couple of small things we are certain are important in our lives and to reflect that to what kind of activities we do in our free time. A couple of examples of that would be if  helping the world is important to you, then start small in your free time with watching the news and keeping a journal with ideas that come to you, could be ways other people have made a positive change in the world, or maybe even jotting down some policy ideas. Or if being rested for your planned activities of the day is important to you, make sure you take the time to completely rest. It might seem obvious, but we much too often lose track of what we really want to be doing in each and every moment, or even forget what we were doing (like putting dirty plates in the fridge instead of in the sink, I know I’ve done that before).

I guess the broader idea you can derive from this is that it’s meaningful to have the bigger picture in mind when you are choosing what to do in your free time, but also in other aspects of life. Be true to yourself with what you actually want to do, in the moment and in the long run, because that is the only way you are going to be happy, by doing what you like and find meaningful.

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