We all enjoy our time in different ways, but one thing is for sure… we all feel like we never have enough of it. How many times have you felt like the ‘free hour’ you had simply disappeared? We hear you.
Now this isn’t to say that having a good old scroll on the Insta isn’t a good way to unwind and decompress, but it can become a problem if you’re finding yourself mindlessly lost in the scroll, to come around 30 minutes later annoyed at yourself for wasting the last half hour.
So if you can relate, we’ve put together a short list of 5 simple ways to be more mindful and purposeful with your down time, so you feel like you can really relish the rest that you deserve.
1. Multiple Social Media Accounts
If the Insta-scroll example rang true for you, perhaps it’s time you consider having a second account. We know what you’re thinking… surely that’s doubling the issue, right? If it’s a duplicate, absolutely, yes! But… by creating a second account and being crafty with your privacy settings and who you choose to follow, you can be in total control of what you see and don’t see. Picture this: your usual Instagram account, where you follow dozens of old high school friends, colleagues, pals from the gym, brands and celebrities, then a separate, more private account, where you only follow a small handful of people – perhaps your closest friends and family. That way if you want to check in on the people who matter the most to you, it’s easily done by hopping onto your dedicated account and having a quick swipe through their updates, without being bombarded with all the memes and distant friends-of-friends’ party photos that you can so easily get buried in. But when you really do want to get lost in it – you can hop right back onto the other account.
It might even be that you choose to have a work account where you follow people and pages related to your business, so you can skim through relevant work posts for inspiration, and then toggle over to the ‘fun stuff’ after 5pm. Think of it as a tool – you can use it or not – but know that it’s there and might work for you.
2. Down-Time Do-List
Make a list of fun things you want to do when you have some down time. This strictly isn’t a To-Do list, so instead we’re calling it a do list – things you can simply dip into and do, but things that don’t need to be done. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to look up a new holiday destination a friend mentioned that you haven’t got around to yet, or maybe you re-discovered a relaxing doodle book under your bed and know how relaxing you found that when you have five minutes. Make a list on your phone, and pop the good stuff on it. Non-essentials only! Then, when you next find yourself with some rest time, check out that list and see if something tickles your fancy.
3. Reading Choices
Tim Ferriss famously suggests that reading non-fiction before bedtime is a bad idea, as it encourages protection into the future and preoccupation/planning. Fiction however, engages the imagination and demands present-state attention. So if you’ve got a non-fiction book on the go but want to optimise your relaxation routine, consider having a second book beside the bed to both entertain and help you unwind, saving the fiction for earlier in the day! Consider having a book nearby to your usual chill-spot too, to encourage you to pick it up instead of reaching for your phone or the remote. Remove the barriers and make it easy for you to succeed!
4. One Thing At A Time
How often do we absent mindedly have the TV on, whilst texting a friend? Or perhaps we’re on the phone to a family member, and we start scrolling through FaceBook at the same time? Life is so busy, that we are often multi-tasking pros without even realising it, to the point where it can feel difficult to focus on one thing at a time. This is your down time though, and what you choose to do deserves your attention. Allow your mind to relax into that TV show or that catch up with a friend, and remove secondary tasks that will simply distract. Pop the phone upstairs. Turn the TV off whilst the book is in your hand.
5. Set Time Based Boundaries
If you find yourself regularly getting lost in nothingness, frustrated at home your time has simply disappeared, consider giving yourself time-based boundaries to get in the habit of being more mindful with your time. Desperate to get your Tik-Tok fix but don’t want to lose your evening? Set a timer for 15 minutes. Perhaps even block out the you-time in your diary so you get used to the idea of it being finite, so you can really savour and enjoy it.
So there it is – 5 simple ways which might help you to be more mindful when it comes to filling your free time. There is no right or wrong way to spend it, and no judgement if you honestly do enjoy unwinding to a bit of social media – but choose to do it consciously, so you can enjoy those moments and not come out the other side feeling frustrated at how quickly the hours have passed!
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