Some people think free time is a myth. They keep themselves busy to the point where they don’t have a minute of unscheduled time. Their entire day is taken up by work, running errands, socializing, and developing on their side hustle.
I know this because I tend to be one of those kind of people. Most of my time is already spoken for before I even have a chance to think about it. As they say, with great responsibility comes a great deal of things to do. But we all have more free time than you think.
Think about how much time you spend on your commute. Or looking at your phone. Or watching Netflix. Those are all choices with how you’re spending your time. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing with a half-hour TV show, but that shouldn’t convince us we’re busier than we actually are.
Recently, I’ve tried to become more intentional with how I invest my spare moments. I’m trying not to let busyness be an excuse and make my time count. Here are three ways that I’m trying to divide my free time into to be more freeing.
How we spend our time is a good indication of our priorities. We can say that we love God. But only devoting a single hour every week to Him does little to support that statement. So I’m making an effort to shift my own schedule to include more time with my Heavenly Father.
That includes going to church worship and weekly Bible study, but it also includes spending more time in prayer and devotional time. I also commute about 90 minutes every day, which is a decent chunk of my time. And I normally spend most of that time listening to podcasts and audiobooks.
But I’ve also shifted some of that time over to quiet and reflective thought. Or I might even have a conversation with God by praying aloud. That simple adjustment allows me to spend marginally more time with our Creator. It also helps me to combat the inevitable road rage that comes with driving in Atlanta traffic.
If we spend more time with our Creator, it naturally helps us to better appreciate His Creation. When referring to God’s Creation, I primarily mean two things: the Earth and people. Essentially, I’m trying to spend more time in nature and in relationship with good friends.
I work in an office and spend the majority of my day starting at a computer. So I don’t get much time outside. In fact, the only time I do get outdoors is on the occasional walk around my neighborhood. So I try to take full advantage of that time. Even though walking around might not seem like an effective use of time, it’s got its benefits.
We’re increasingly spending our free time isolated from other people. As an introvert, I need that alone time to recharge, but we all need community more than ever. Which is why I have to always be intentional about scheduling meals with friends, or calling family members.
So if you’re feeling stuck, get out of the office. Talk to a friend. Get out of your routine in order to notice the subtle beauty of God’s creation around you.
The final way I’m trying to spend more of my free time is being creative. Rather than mindlessly consuming an endless stream of content on social media or Netflix, I’m attempting to contribute something meaningful to the world around me. Even if it’s just nominal blog posts like this one.
Writing is my main form of creativity, but it’s not the only one. I used to doodle cartoons when I was in school, so that’s another creative outlet for me. The main thing is reminding myself that my creativity doesn’t have to be productive—in fact it’s often more creative when it’s not.
The more I focus on these three areas, the more I realize that they work together in harmony. Time with God helps me be more creative. Time with other people helps me appreciate my Heavenly Father more deeply. They both inform the creative work I do. They all each feed into one another.
And each one helps me realize that rest is a valid (and effective) way to spend my limited free time. Every good graphic designer knows the value of white space—so add that same kind of margin into your daily life.