Time is a finite resource which is why it’s so important to try to make the most of the time that you have, but with the world becoming more frantic an increasing number of studies are showing that the amount of free time people have is decreasing.
With this in mind these are the six ways that I have found to be most helpful in regards to increasing available free time. So if you are looking to find ways of gaining more free time both over the course of your day and the entirety of your life then read on:
Buy yourself more time
One of the best ways of gaining more free time is buying it. This may seem an obvious one, for example if you can afford a cleaner then you will save a lot of time in cleaning should you employ one.
Of course not everyone can afford a cleaner, but one thing that everyone can do is alter the way that they think so that they become better at spending their money in a more conducive manner in regards to buying themselves more free time.
For example consider this, if a person spends twenty minutes a day washing the dishes manually, buying a dishwashing machine would save that person twenty minutes a day. Added up over the course of a year that would equate to nearly one hundred and twenty-two hours in extra free time, which is approximately five days.
In the UK a decent dishwashing machine can be picked up for around £180, on a minimum wage job that would mean for a little over twenty hours work a person could gain themselves an extra one hundred and twenty-two hours in free time. Which does seem like a good deal. However, what makes it an even better deal, is that that one hundred and twenty-two hours over the course of an average adult lifespan would result in three hundred and four days in extra free time. That would mean for twenty hours work a person would have bought themselves a full three hundred and four days in extra free time.
I should emphasise at this point that this is not about buying a dishwasher, it is about a way of thinking. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is avoiding making a purchase under the mistaken belief that in doing so we are saving money, when in fact what we are actually doing is costing ourselves time which is worth more than the money we are saving.
For example ever persevered with something that was not working properly, like a computer that has become super slow, that one that takes ages to load and even longer still to perform a simple task like opening a web browser. If replacing the computer with a new one saved just ten minutes a day, over the course of the year that would equate to two and a half days in extra free time.
In the UK a decent computer can be picked up for around £400, on a minimum wage job that would mean for a little over fifty hours work a person could gain themselves sixty hours in extra free time. Which again is a really good deal.
This is why, if you are able to afford it, spending money to buy something that allows you to do a job in a shorter time span can be one of the most profitable ways of spending your money.
Eating a healthy diet
If a person used shoddy petrol and poor quality oil to fuel their car, a few things are likely to happen, firstly the car is going to run poorly, secondly it is likely to frequently break down, and thirdly its shelf life is going to be a lot shorter than it otherwise could have been.
The human body is exactly the same, if we fill ourselves with poor quality nutritionally speaking foods and drinks, not only are we going to feel less energetic, we are going to be more likely to through either injury or illness suffer from ill health as well as taking longer to recover from that ill health, and to rub the salt into the wound odds are we will live a shorter life than we otherwise could have done.
All of those combine to mean by eating badly a person will have less free time over the course of their life than they otherwise could have done had they eaten healthily, and the free time they do have they are going to be less able to metaphorically speaking get their monies worth in regards to how they use it, namely because the more broken down a person allows their body to become the less they are able to do.
This is why the more effort a person puts into eating a healthy diet the more free time they get, and the more they are able to do with that free time. Meaning eating a healthy diet is one of the greatest ways of buying more free time.
Hot on the heels of eating a healthy diet, is exercise. The fitter we are the more energy we have, and the more energy we have and the healthier our bodies are the more we are able to do things that we enjoy doing.
And this is not just about doing active things, it has been proven many times over in studies that the fitter we are the better we are able to do everything, even something as simple as reading a book or watching a film.
It may at first glance seem a crazy notion that exercise improves our ability to read books and watch films, but it is true namely because the fitter we are the more we are able to engross ourselves in what we are doing. Meaning that people who partake in regular exercise find it easier to read a book and watch a film, and not only that more often than not gain more enjoyment from doing so simply because they have more energy to engross themselves into it.
That means through regular exercise a person does not just improve their ability to be active, they improve their ability to do everything, with the added benefit of gaining the ability to enjoy everything they do to a higher level through having the energy to engross themselves further into whatever it is they are doing.
And the best thing about it is that that exercise does not have to be a gym membership, it could be going for a walk three or four times a week, it could be starting to ride a bike to work and back, it could be walking to the shops instead of driving, it could be taking up dance classes, it could even be electing to the plank for one minute every day, it could literally be anything you want it to be. As long as it’s exercise it has the power to buy you more free time as well as giving you the power to gain more from that free time.
A good night’s sleep
This is perhaps self-explanatory, but at the same time it is a common belief to think that sleep digs into a person’s free time and by having less of it a person will gain more free time. But just because you are awake does not mean you are necessarily gaining more time, when it comes to free time one of the most important things is the quality of that time spent.
If a person is tired and permanently fatigued because they are not getting enough sleep, then it is highly unlikely that they will metaphorically speaking be making the best of their time. Some people are lucky and can quite easily live on four or five hours sleep a night and not feel even a little fatigued as a result, but the majority need around seven to nine hours sleep a night.
Working out which type of person you are and how much sleep you need to function at your best, and then doing your best to try to get that sleep can be one of the best ways to increase the amount of free time that you have, as well as one of the best ways of increasing the quality of the free time that you have.
Studies have shown time and time again that a fatigued body and mind leads to a person as well as being more susceptible to injury, suffering from more illnesses and ailments. The salt to the wound is that it also shows that it takes them longer to recover from illnesses and injuries. So they get injured more often, suffer more ill-health and take longer to recover from those injuries and ill health.
Also studies have shown time and time again that a fatigued person not only performs poorly when compared to a non-fatigued person, but takes longer to do a task, and makes more mistakes which have to be later rectified. All of which eats into a person’s free time.
That means that frequently cutting back on sleep as a means to get more free time actually does the opposite and eats into a person’s free time, meaning that consistently ensuring a good night’s sleep is a great way of increasing your available free time, with the added benefit of increasing the quality of that free time.
Being more selective with how you spend your time
How many times have you engaged online in a completely and entirely pointless debate that has got you all worked up, angry and frustrated? There are no studies needed to know that a large number of us succumb to this sort of behaviour, all the proof that is needed is a simple look at the comments feed on any news or opinion piece that has been posted on social media.
The majority of the debates we get into on these platforms are straight up pointless, the people we debate with are not going to change their opinion and we are not going to change our opinion, which begs the question what the hell is the point in having the debate in the first place?
Debates are a really important part of democracy, and they can be both enjoyable and perspective changing, but one thing that social media has taught us all is that debates on social media are more often than not a pointless endeavour which serve to only anger and frustrate.
That is to say a debate with a person who does not have an open mind is a waste of time, because no matter what argument is put forward they will insist that you are wrong and they are right. And social media is full of people such as this, not just that it has a knack of turning people who in the real world are relatively open-minded into the opposite.
Meaning social media debates rarely bring about any result other than anger and frustration, meaning avoiding them or being more selective with whom to have them with can be one of the best ways to gain more free time.
But it is not just in the online world we frequently get ourselves worked up for no possible benefit, whether it be through arguments or debates with partners or friends or work colleagues or family members, frequently we get ourselves into debates and arguments in which the only possible outcome is anger and frustration.
Avoiding such pointless debates and arguments is a great way to gain more free time, namely because by choosing not to engage not only do we save time from avoiding the endlessly repetitive debate and argument, but by avoiding the anger and frustration we save more energy which we can expend elsewhere. Also by avoiding getting angry and frustrated we give our mental health a boost simply as a result of not allowing our heads to be filled with anger and frustration.
This is why by being more selective with how we spend our time, namely by focusing on avoiding situations in which there is no possible good outcome, we gain not only more free time but more energy to make use of our free time.
Stop doing pointless things to pass the time
This is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that a person can make. Time is a forever dwindling asset meaning the more of it we spend the less of it we have, and once we spend time we can never get it back meaning all we can do over the course of our lives is to try to learn the best way of spending the time we do have.
This is why it is so important that we learn early on to not waste our time doing pointless things, and one of the worst ways we waste our time doing pointless things, is when we are trying to pass the time. For example a friend of mine recently said to me the biggest recent regret he has is that during lockdown while he was furloughed rather than using that time to learn something new, he instead simply spent all his time watching daytime TV.
What he said was looking back all he had done was spend his time on furlough waiting to not be on furlough, meaning he had wasted his free time. He said he had been so upset that he couldn’t use the free time he had to go on holidays, to socialise, to get out and about and do all of things that he loved doing that he completely overlooked the fact that there were still lots of things that he could do that he had always wanted to do.
That means he spent all of his free time passing the time rather than making good use of it, and all because he hoped that in the future he would be able to do all the things that he wanted to do but was unable to. In a way this is like a child being so desperate to become an adult, that they never learn how to be a child and so miss out on their entire childhood only to then inevitably in adulthood long for the childhood they never had.
It is likely we are all guilty of this sort of behaviour, that is to say rather than using the present time we have available to do things that we are able to do, we do aimless things to pass the time waiting for the time that we can do the things that we want to do.
This is why one of the best ways to gain more free time is to stop wasting your time passing the time, and instead use your time productively. For example, on a day off a person could spend it watching daytime TV, or they could use it to read that book that they have always wanted to read but have never had the time to.
A person could while waiting in the waiting room for their appointment, aimlessly browse their social media feeds or they could listen to a bit more of that interesting podcast. A person could while waiting for their friend to arrive aimlessly flick through the TV channels, or they could make the bed which they haven’t yet got round to making.
All in all one of the best ways out there for gaining more free time, is to stop wasting time passing the time and instead start using that time productively. That means by stopping doing aimless things in which the sole purpose is to make the time pass faster like blindly scrolling social media it is possible to gain instantly a large amount of extra free time to do with what as you wish.
That’s all from me for today, stay safe!