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5 Reasons Why You Should Schedule Free Time

Do you feel like you’re swimming in work? Are you often feeling tired or burned out at the office or at home? You aren’t alone.
According to a poll conducted by Gallop in 2017, only 15% of workers worldwide are actually engaged in their work.  That number is absolutely staggering- 85% of people don’t like their job! Well, at least according to that poll.
While hating your job isn’t something I have any particular advice for (other than quitting), we can at least look to empower ourselves during our free time, and give ourselves the best chance of advancement at work, and in our relationships with family and friends. I have been scheduling my free time for a few months now, and here are 5 reasons why you should consider it, too:

  • You’ll ACTUALLY have free time!

How many times do we get to the end of our day and realize that we didn’t do 1 single thing for ourselves all day (other than eating that unclaimed donut at 3:00 PM)? When we get busy, this gets very easy. Over time, we’re going to take time for ourselves one way or another. I’ve never met someone who has the motor to go 24/7 for very long before they crash.

While I’m all about the “hustle and grind” of being an entrepreneur, it’s important to know when to take off that hat and just be a person- feeling the emotions of right-this-second rather than thinking about investments 2, 5, 10 years down the road. Determination is healthy, and even obsession is fine, but only as long as it’s kept in perspective.

  • You won’t feel guilty about taking breaks

Have you ever been so busy that you felt that you couldn’t take a break? Not a good feeling, is it? I used to do this to myself on a regular basis during my first 2 years of college. Granted, it was 100% my fault, as I tended to procrastinate on assignments and then finish them last minute. Nonetheless, not scheduling free time + procrastination leads to a downward spiral that’s difficult to overcome.

You should not feel guilty about taking free time for yourself. If you do, it’s because you know you still have work to do. However, get on a normal schedule, get very consistent with your work output, start scheduling your free time, and you’ll be amazed at the result.

I’ve mentioned before that I started scheduling my entire day via “time blocking.” If you’re interested in going straight to this step, check out Thomas Frank’s video on the subject.

  • You will increase focus/productivity at work

When you give yourself time to relax, reflect, or just get out of the office, you find that your time spent in the office is more productive. Your focus is increased because you don’t feel the weight of working all day, every day with no break or end in sight. You know exactly how much work you have to do before taking a break, which gives you a goal to work toward.

Think of “free time” as a chance to prioritize your mental health. If you are not mentally healthy, then there’s a very high chance that you are not performing to your full potential at work or home. Free time gives you a chance to release, not worry about every single detail in life, and recuperate before it’s time to work again.

Scheduling your free time is a great step toward keeping you fully engaged in all facets of life, not just work. Be present- not a zombie.  

  • Free time adds flexibility to your life

Another beautiful thing about free time is that you do not have to use it! Sometimes, life hands us a full plate that must be finished before we can leave the table. That’s fine on occasion, we just want to be cognizant of that fact and not let it become the norm.

If you have free time scheduled in your day and you HAVE to work, no worries! You’ve already planned the extra time, so you can use it to finish whatever you need to do. You now have flexibility which you may not have previously championed. Flexibility means that you can bend and mend your schedule to fit your desires and goals- AKA you aren’t going to BREAK the second something doesn’t go as planned.

  • Free time gives us perspective

As ambitious people, it’s easy to use phrases like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” or “money isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” or “I’m on that 24/7 grind.” Quite frankly, I’m not here to judge your life, nor am I remotely qualified to do so. However, I’ve found personally that the ones who don’t “make it” are the ones who burn out, who put too much of their own identity in their work.
Passion, long hours, dedication, and an absurdly positive outlook is what you need to make it in this world. However, these things are not possible to keep up long-term without some type of balance. Work is important, but it’s not everything. It doesn’t define us as people, and it certainly doesn’t speak to what is inside of us.
Scheduling your free time gives you the chance to reflect on what is actually important, and have the perspective to live intentionally. When we’re on our death bed, will we be focused on the extra money we made, or the extra time we spent to take care of our health and the health of our friends and families? You’ll have to answer that for yourself.

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