Spending our free time doesn’t really require any skills. We all can do it, but…Are we really using our spare time at its best? To make sure that we’re not wasting all of our leisure time uselessly, there are a couple of aspects that we might want to bear in mind.
First of all, we must talk about balance. There are basically two ways of spending our free time: going out or staying in. These two ways are often complementary, since there is a substantial difference in the activities that our settings involve. Going out usually has to do with social activities: spending time with friends and family is the main one, but to a degree, all the activities who take place out of our house have a “social” character. For example, activities like going shopping, going to the hairdresser or to the gym all require some interactions and make us a part of the social context.
When we decide to stay home, let alone the normal interactions with the people who live with us, we can instead spend our time on our own studying some subject we like. We can also dedicate time to our passions and cultivate our talents. We can decide to give some time to our personal projects, to read, to relax or just to rest.
One of the main aspects of free time is that it’s never enough. That’s why we should really treat it as a resource and give it some structure. If we can, the ideal would be to plan our free days ahead, so we can get a balance of indoor and outdoor activities. When I was saying that the two types of activities are complementary, I really meant it. Try to stay in the whole weekend, and you’ll see how bad you’ll feel on Monday going back to your ordinary routine. Conversely, if you spend all your free time out, you’ll find yourself exhausted in a very short time.
There’s also another reason why you should really plan your free time in advance. In absence of a precise plan, you’ll decide on the spot what to do. But because decisions are hard and require initiative, chances are you’ll get very lazy. After a weekend spent making “spontaneous” decisions regarding several activities, you might look back and regret you failed to do something meaningful for you.
About the planning, don’t stress out! Free time must be relaxing and fun, after all. A simple list of 4-5 activities/things you accomplish for each free day, together with a (rough and flexible) schedule, will already improve a lot the quality of your free time. As soon as you feel more at ease with this type of planning, try to add more activities or to be more precise with your outline. Once you’re on the right track, it’s easy to find new ways to increase the productivity of your free time. Good luck!