exerciseThe closing on my home got pushed back one day due to the huge snowstorm that hit the Midwest this weekend, so please enjoy this guest post from Connie Mei. Connie is a 20-something trying to live big on a budget…in New York City. Follow her on her road to financial independence over at Savvy With Saving.

Time is money.  And unfortunately, a lot of us waste it. Many people spend their free time lounging around, watching TV, and catching up on sleep. Not to say that you should stop doing those things entirely.  However, it’s worth noting what really productive people do.  People who spend their free time effectively see it as a time to refocus, not necessarily recharge. Here are 5 things you can be doing to maximize your free time:

Exercise

It’s easy to just let go on the weekends and spend all your time sitting on the couch watching TV. But the weekends are actually a great time to catch up on exercise. If you’re like most people, you probably aren’t getting enough exercise during the week. Set aside an hour or two every weekend to get a workout in. It can even be something fun like a hike or a new dance class. Contrary to popular belief, exercising will actually make you feel better and more energized.

Spend Time with Family and Friends

Fitting in time to spend with friends and family can be difficult.  And unfortunately, they can be the first things we cut out of our lives when we need to find more time. Creating and maintaining strong, meaningful relationships is a vital part of living a happy life. Be sure to spend quality time with the people you care about. When people look back on their lives, they wish they spent more time with friends and family – not more time working.

Explore New Passions

While your work can actually be your passion, spending time pursuing new passions is a great way to learn and grow as a person. Use the extra time you have to discover something new that you enjoy. What have you always wanted to do that you never had the time for? It can be something big – like starting your own business- or small – like learning how to cook. Pursuing something you’re interested in will make you feel more fulfilled.

Get a Side Hustle

Most people could use some extra cash and it’s usually not that hard to earn a little more. In your free time, there are tons of side hustles you can do to make a little extra. Some popular ones are freelance writing, acting as a virtual assistant, or reselling things. There are also plenty of ways to make extra income in your own neighborhood such as dog walking or babysitting. A couple hundred bucks might not sound like much but it adds up.

Plan ahead

A great way to be proactive is to spend your free time planning for your week ahead. Spending a little time prioritizing on Sunday can save you a lot of time during the week. It’ll also make you feel better prepared for what’s to come. Take a little bit of time on Sunday night to write out your to-list.

When you have some free time, reflect. What could you do to better yourself? A few hours here and there may not seem like a lot of time to do it but if you consistently do it every week, you’ll gradually chip away at your goals.

How do you maximize your free time?