Welcome friends to Episode #136 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. When you have very little free time, you feel the weight of making the most of that precious time. What do you do in your spare moments before the kids wake up or after they go to bed? What do you do in the one or 2 hours you have for yourself? For those of you who have a goal or a desire you’re bringing to life, this question becomes even more important. You want to make sure you aren’t wasting those moments and you want to feel like you’re using your time well. Today’s podcast on Making the Most of Your Free Time is on the 3 things you can be doing right now with the time you have – no matter how much or little you feel it is. It’s enough.
Ever since I’ve started being productive as a child, I’ve had the question on my mind that many of you have, “how do I use my time well?” I’ve always been one to have a lot of activities, plans and ideas for what I want to do with my time. I remember thinking to myself even after I started working that I would definitely be ok not working because there were just so many things I wanted to do with my time. It felt like there was just never enough time to do all the things I wanted to do in a day or even in life.
Yet, the first thing that we have to realize is that time is what we make of it. We don’t think about how little time we have until we have a lot going on. We don’t feel rushed until we have plans. All of this is self-imposed. Timelines and deadlines are things that we’ve willingly taken on. You might think that the time school starts or a meeting begins is not your choice and you’re correct. Yet, you’ve decided to make it important to be on time for school. You’ve decided that you want to be there when a meeting begins. We do have a choice in how we think about time because we’ve decided to make being on time important.
Yet, for those of you who have a lot on your plate, you also know that it’s not just being on time but what you do with the time you have that matters. When I coach people, it often feels like there’s never enough time to talk through what we need to get through. We have to question that thought and feeling, however. There is more than enough time. We just need to decide what’s most important for us to talk about today.
The most important decision you will make about your free time is whether or not it’s enough. If you decide that what you have is enough, you’ll find you use it more wisely and your experience of time will begin to shift. Once you feel like it’s enough, you use your time well. You move from the most important to the least important. You prioritize, organize and time seems to flow and expand. What used to feel fast now becomes slow when you make it slow. I teach this in my work with my clients, but it isn’t just enough for me to tell you – you have to do it for yourself. This is why we train, apply, evaluate and coach through how we use time with real life examples of the hour you have in your day or week. What ideas do you have for that time and why it worked or didn’t work when you tried to apply the principles I’m sharing with you today – that’s what we get into in depth.
There are 3 things to focus on when making the most of your free time.
1: Your Talents
Your talents are those innate qualities about you that make it easier for you to do something than someone else. You do it better than most people. Yet, if we never develop those talents, they never become true strengths. This is where the gap gets closed in coaching. We not only identify your talents but we use them purposefully and with a plan. How you spend your free time can be extremely effective when you apply your talents to that free time.
When you work on your talents and they become strengths, your ROI on the time you spend is exponential. You’ll end up advancing your skills much more quickly because you are leaning into something you’re already good at and skilled in. This has a ripple effect on the rest of your life because you can then utilize these talents in other areas of your life to help you strengthen your weaknesses to a competent level. If you’re really good at strategy but not connecting with lots of different people, you can see the strategy of how to connect with lots of people in a way that makes sense to you.
This is where so many more connections occur and innovation happens. Identify and work on your talents and you’ll have a calling card for what value you bring to any organization, team or situation. You are creating something that cannot be replicated – which is you executing at your higher potential.
2: Your Curiosities
Curiosities are the lifeblood of your purpose. What are you passionate about specifically? What do you want to know more about and what questions would you like to answer? Make a list of all those things and use your spare time to follow those curiosities. This is where more innovation happens in your life. If you’re wondering how to feel more present and inspired, this is the path to follow. I take people through an exercise where we learn how to use the curiosities to identify your passions.
When you spend time on what gets you interested and engaged, you’ll be interested and engaged. It’s an effective way to give yourself permission to even learn what you care about when you don’t have to care about something. Often, this sense of curiosity can be missing when we are so tired and exhausted from day to day life that before we get here, we have to create space to even let our brain explore our curiosities.
If you’re feeling tired, exhausted and irritable – you need a bit of space, time and a change in perspective in order for you to be able to fully follow your curiosities or even identify what they are. This is why your physical, mental and emotional health matter a lot when you’re thinking about living a life of more meaning or fulfillment. Your health is that foundation for you to have the energy to tap into the inspiration that comes from being engaged in your passions.
3: Your Goals
What do you want to achieve? This is where it gets interesting. When we’re unconsciously using our time in the same ways we always have, thinking about the same things we’ve always thought about without progress, we will create a future that looks exactly the same as yesterday. The world is changing and you are changing. To get in touch with your natural desire for evolution, growth and change is where your goals come in. How do you want to approach this next season of your life? What matters to you and how do you want to live your life?
How you spend your time is going to matter even more if you want depth and richness. If you know that you want to figure out that next season of your career, you’ll want time to explore your possibilities, talk to people, ideate and meditate on what’s next. If you want to create more intimacy in your relationships, you’ll want to spend your time understanding yourself, the other person and creating life together. There is just so much you can do with your time that will further you towards your goals of wealth, health, relationships and meaningful success.
It doesn’t matter if you have 10 minutes or 10 hours, it’s the same process. Without understanding the direction of your life and where you are headed, time will feel like it’s being wasted. Most of the people I work with are excellent at executing and doing, but there’s one thing that’s missing which is inspiration. We need time to explore what inspires you and a compelling future reason to make any kind of change, whether it’s a change to your routines, how you eat, sleep and be with people around you. If you want to have even more leadership and boldness in your life, you’ll also need a compelling reason to see why it will create a future that you want to step into – so that it’s easier for you to use your time effectively.
If you don’t know what you want or how you want to spend your time, often it’s because we don’t have goals or an intention that is clearly defined.
When you’ve got some free time and are unsure where to start, think about your talents, your curiosities and your goals. These will help you understand what’s the best way to invest your time. Then it’s easier to figure out how to manage your mind when the time comes and you don’t do those things – which is always where the truth emerges. Your mind will offer up many reasons why you don’t know enough about what you want to get started. Get started anyways. There is so much more waiting for you to learn on the other side of getting started.
If you’re thinking about this topic constantly, come join me in coaching. I’m launching a one year retreat experience exclusively for those of you who love the idea of a retreat, have no idea how you would make it happen for yourself but want the benefits of spending time moving your body, reconnecting to yourself and nature, getting clear on what you want next and elevating yourself in a community of other seekers. You will learn how to reconnect with yourself, your intuition, have a meaningful career or work, create consistent habits of health and movement and allow yourself the space to think. It is a retreat drip-fed to you across the span of a year and the amazing thing is that you have 2 retreat experiences included, 1:1 coaching and group sessions where we build community, find inspiration and combine structured learning and coaching. If you’re curious about spirituality and want to be highly intentional about what you are doing next and how you spend your time, find out more by scheduling a consultation at www.mayempson.com/contact.
That’s it for this week. Have an amazing one and I’ll talk to you next time.