Do you have free time on your hands and don’t know what to do with it? I can offer you a standard list of things to do in free time, such as file papers, return phone calls or clean up. But you could probably figure that out on your own. Instead, let’s take a look at what to do in free time, to get some real meaning out of your life.
Let’s face it, life has a tendency to fly by. We have our goals and inspirations, but putting them in motion is a lot different than just wanting and wishing. By developing a systematic approach for attaining your goals, you can make certain that you get the most out of your free time, and assure an on going satisfaction from your life.
1. Identify Your Dreams
You may have always dreamed of starting a business, creating a website, or writing a book. If you don’t already know what your dream is, you can for example, browse the numerous publications describing the things to do, or places to visit before you die. You can get some ideas from that.
We’ve all had childhood dreams that we placed aside. This would be a great time to revisit them to get yourself motivated. Having a goal that has been identified will greatly reduce the idle time, and help you get organized and move on to create a solid plan.
2. Have a Plan
Now that you have a goal, develop a plan that will get you there! The plan needs to be as detailed as possible. Every plan will have areas that are more or less known. Some areas will need to be researched in order to move further.
You are going to work backwards from the main goal. Your main goal may consist of smaller goals. In order to accomplish the smaller goals you will need to do certain tasks. Each one of the tasks should have a to-do list associated with it. In every to-do list, you will identify the next action that needs to be taken to get it accomplished.
3. The Next Action
The next action is the building block that makes up the fabric of your main goal. It’s the atom that holds it together. It’s also the most natural way to accomplish anything. Whatever is in your to-do list, there will always be the next action. It can be as small as making sure to bring your credit card to the office so you can pay a bill during the break.
Taking the next action is just that – taking whatever the next action is, to get something done. This may seem like an obvious step. But you would be surprised, how much time gets wasted when the next tiny action hasn’t been identified. Every task consists of numerous smaller actions.
Let me give you an example: Let’s say you need to ask your insurance agent a question about your auto policy. You will need to have the agent’s phone number, which is written on the insurance card. So the very next action will be to find that card in your files. The following action is to make sure to bring it with you to work.
4. Small Time Blocks
The next action is perfectly suited for when you only have smaller blocks of free time. Take small steps toward your goal. I find that having smaller blocks of free time actually makes me more productive because I stay focused throughout. It also presents a nice break from your bigger responsibilities of the day, such as your main job.
Some examples of what can be done during a small blocks of time. You take a 10 minute break at work to research getting your business license. To see if a domain name is available for your site idea. To read some hosting company reviews. To create a PayPal account. Any small part that will get you a bit closer to your goal. The list goes on and on.
5. Gain Satisfaction
What’s it all about? For me, it’s about gaining the satisfaction that at the end of the day I got something done. That not all of 1440 minutes of my day were wasted on meaningless tasks. That I came a little closer toward my goal during my spare time. Having accomplished even a smallest task toward your main goal, will leave you with a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day.
Check off the accomplished tasks, and plan the next action the night before. No matter how big or small your daily accomplishments may be, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that accumulatively they are getting you closer to your dream. The free time you may have wasted otherwise, is now being used to get to what is important in your life. And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for adding meaning to your life.
Live well. Vlad