How to Maximize Your Free Time

How to Maximize Your Free Time - picture of three young woman laughing

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The 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:


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?

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  1. Love this topic! I am always trying to plan ahead and my side hustle takes up most of my “free” time. I think spending time with friends and family building meaningful relationships isn’t stressed enough, especially among people in the personal finance community. It’s arguably the MOST important thing you can do in your free time.

  2. I am totally guilty of wasting time on the weekends. I think maybe building more exercise into my routine would help keep my energy up so that I am productive. Of course, I do think it is important to spend some time relaxing and resting up too!

  3. We need to be better about optimizing our free time. This year, we’ll be cutting down on TV time for more reading instead.

  4. I don’t waste too much time on the weekends, since I try to hang out with my kids as much as possible then. During the busy work weeks I only see them for a few minutes before bed time, so devoting weekend time to exercise, side jobs, or hobbies can be difficult. They all have their place though!

  5. We’re always looking for ways to maximize our free time. With us both working from home it can be easy to let things slide by and simply lose out on any free time we have. We’ve learned to structure our day to work when we’re most efficient and plan ahead so we can enjoy time with the kids during our free time.

  6. I try to exercise for at least 45 minutes a day. Blogging takes a ton of time, but I almost consider that more like a second job at this point. Maybe my favorite thing to do in the world is read a good book, and I certainly need to make more time for that.

  7. I like trying to be as efficient as possible. My free time usually ends up being taken up by side hustles or my hobbies. I think that is a good way to spend it.

  8. Awesome call on getting a side hustle. Before I started blogging I watched a lot more TV. I personally think I am much more productive and learning a lot more these days! I do have to admit, exercise has taken a bit of a hit since I began blogging though- I am working on getting better at the balance.

  9. I am a very guilty of wasting free time but again I always impress myself when I find something productive to do because I really commit. I actually do most of the things you listed. My main problem is actually getting up to start doing it. Once am in good.

  10. I also plan ahead not just to maximize my time, but to save money, especially when going out to eat. I look up menus before I go and already know what I’m getting, how much it will be and have exact cash for the meal. As you know, eating out in NYC can get pretty pricy if you aren’t careful!

  11. I watch less tv now that I started my blog. I enjoy it and am really getting into it. There is so much to learn and share.

  12. Also learn how when you are at your peak and align your passion with that. For instance, I’m at my best in the mornings and I’ll never watch TV in the mornings but use it for doing something productive. I’m not very productive late night and I use that time for TV and non productive activities.

  13. Jennifer @ Budgeting in Baby says:

    I am horrible about wasting time on watching television. I have got to get better at not spending so much time watching tv.

  14. It wouldn’t hurt to exercise on the weekend. My boyfriend takes advantage of his days off to wake up and go running when he’s normally too tired in the morning. I try to get ahead on blogging and make a plan for the upcoming week. Great ideas!

  15. All those are great tips. The secret to contentment is finding ways to optimally use your free time. I always like to learn new things. Lately, I’ve been trying different recipes and brushing up on my cooking skills. It’s a great way to save money and eat healthier. And the end result is (usually) delicious food.

  16. Usually the weekends we try to spend time with each other, get some rest, get some stuff done around the house. Most of them are chill because during the work week, we are never home. Plus, hubby only has one day off.

  17. I realized I spent a lot of my free time passing the time waiting for something I was looking forward to… example: waiting for the game to start on Sundays.

    I think maximizing free time is all about finding a way to enjoy each and every second of it.

  18. Exercise is one of the main reasons I’ve joined sports leagues. I enjoy going out for runs but tend to wuss out when it comes to crummy weather. I don’t want to run out in the freezing cold. If it’s cold for a touch football game though and I have teammates toughing it out as well, that’s a whole different story. It is also easier this way to get an exercise in during the week. Since I’m meeting up with others, it kind of feels like a night out instead of exercise.

  19. Free time? What’s that? 🙂 Actually my free time is being taken up by training for a 1/2 marathon, and blogging. But I also watch about an hour or two of TV a night. I have to get away from the computer. My goal is to learn the Ukulele this year, so if I can free up some more free time, that’s something I’ll be focusing on.

  20. Free time, what’s that? Just kidding, sort of. These days it feels like I have less and less free-time. Between work, blogging and side hustles there isn’t much free-time left. Exercise is something I’m trying to make more of a priority. I recently started Focus T-25 and I really enjoy those short 25 minute workouts.

  21. Any tips on most successful way to find a virtual assistant or to become one?

  22. I don’t have much time between work, side hustles and blogging either, but I am trying to manage my work flow and sanity. Sometimes I just veg, then feel guilty. Sometimes I work too much and burn out. I think having a routine and organizing your time and setting your priorities is really important. Great tips and thanks for sharing with us.

  23. I’m starting to feel more tired every day, so spending some extra time sleeping would actually be really welcome in my situation, but you can’t do everything in 24 hours 🙂 But I do agree that when it comes to free time, spending it with family is probably the best way to use it.

  24. Also suggestion from my side would be to spend leisure time, on activities such as- going to theatre, concerts, watching different types of performances. I do so, and since I started, my life quality improved a lot 🙂 Believe me, there is nothing better than to watch live performance and to enjoy it, but it is also important to choose good performances, for that reason I rely only on info placed here- koncertai , I believe you should do the same in case you want to enjoy life in a way I do 🙂

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