As adults, we say “free time” the way we said “recess” or “play time” when we were younger. All too often, we work 40-50 hours Monday-Friday to get to our “free time,” then sit on the couch for half of the day for one reason or another. We catch up on shows, relax (aka – nap), surf the web (aka – look at Instagram posts), or eat despite the fact that we ate something an hour and a half ago and say, “I might be hungry, but I might not be?”
I was this person, too, you know? When I had roommates, I remember staying in my room until 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. because the longer I stayed in there, the more embarrassing it would look when I finally came out to greet the world. I would say things about getting my resume together or being really sore from that workout I did yesterday (or was it the day before? Or was it last month?). I could spend a whole day in my house, not cook anything and just order food, then put on an Ohio State shirt and watch the 8:00 p.m. game until I went up to bed and lay awake until 3:00 a.m.
Thankfully, those days are behind me. I couldn’t sleep in past 8:30 a.m. if I wanted to and if I’ve been in my house for more than four straight hours, I start to go a little crazy (and I like my house!). What happened is my wife and I started making plans. We plan things out a month in advance. We buy concert tickets for shows six months down the road and we share calendars for workouts, happy hours, work schedules, even when we are going to give our dog a bath. We almost have to schedule “free time,” otherwise our days won’t allow us any time to breathe.
And it’s not just on weekends either. We plan time to work on our freelance businesses, schedule meetings with event coordinators for things we want to put into motion six months down the road. Of course, we plan couch time to smother our dog, but there are some nights he has to remind us to get him his walk (he does this by eating a little bathroom waste bin trash or moving our shoes from our closet).
So here’s where I ask you to self-reflect and look at what it is you do on the weekends or when you get off from work. Do you beeline to your couch and order pizza most nights, or do you have plans to do something productive with your free time? As Millennials, it’s easy for us to say that something isn’t worth our time, but we are devaluing our time by wasting it every day. I’m all for “lets do it more efficiently,” but when it comes to going from a computer screen at work to a TV screen at home, we have to change how we are doing things.
So, it’s OK to start small, but at least START. Make “free time” a thing where you get free yourself from what has been comfortable to this point, and challenge yourself to do something new. Who knows, you might start to enjoy it!