How Do I Balance My Free Time?

You’ve done it. You’ve landed the full time job you’ve yearned for. It might have happened right away for you, or maybe it happened two years after you received your diploma. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet. And that’s all okay. What’s not okay with you? You feel like all you do is work. And the two days you’re not slaving away at your full time job, you’re trying to cram all of your personal goals and hobbies into a couple of hours. Most of which you are catching up on sleep.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American working full time spends almost 60% of their active life working or doing work-related activities. That means only 30% is set aside for leisure, household duties, sleep, and self-care. That’s pretty hard to hear, isn’t it?

So what do we do when we have a million things we want to do and only 30% of our time to do them? A recent conversation that Amanda and I had at post-work dinner at Noodlehead sparked something in me to write this post.

We both seemed to have this common problem: we are unmotivated to do anything in our free time. Maybe we would scroll through Instagram, or binge a season of a Netflix show, or just lay there with a bottle of wine and feel sorry for ourselves…but are we actually doing anything productive or good for our souls during this time? Sure- we all need a Netflix session once in a while, but do we want to look back and say all we did was go to work, come home, watch TV and go to bed? Doesn’t seem like a sentence I’d want written on my grave stone if you ask me.

“I just want to read a book, is that too much to ask?” said Amanda as we boxed up our left overs. “But I also want to go to work out, and write a post for the blog”

I chimed in “and go through those old clothes that don’t fit me anymore and try to sell them. And learn that Rosetta Stone language I spent so much money on.”

So… how do we get all of these things done in our minimal amount of free time? I came up with a list of things that have been working for me- and if you’ve been struggling with the same post-college crisis, feel free to try them out too!

  1. Make a list. Figure out what’s most important to you. If you use to cook in school, find a new recipe and pic one day of the week to make it. Start slow, and do one thing at a time. Slowly incorporate one or two more things on your list into your weekly routine that you’ve been itching to get back into.
  2. Make a calendar of to-do’s. You probably use a schedule at work to keep yourself organized and motivated, so why not make one for your free time too. Schedule a spin class and mark it on your calendar so you have to go. Plan a happy hour at a new bar you’ve been wanting to try. If you feel like you have to do it- you will. And I can almost guarantee you won’t regret it afterwards.
  3. Leave motivation everywhere. Leave a post-it note on your mirror or set a reminder on your phone. I have this motivational message on my phone right now:

IMG_4549

4. Use others to help motivate you. If you’ve been wanting to read more, join a book club. They’ll pick the book for you, and you’ll have a deadline to finish it- so you won’t get 2 chapters in and lose it in a pile of laundry.

5. Add a mix of sedentary and active hobbies. It’s important to rest, but it’s also important to stay active. Make sure you have a balance of hobbies that include just chilling with a cup of coffee and one’s that make you get out and enjoy some fresh air. You don’t have to be a star athlete to get your blood flowing.

6. Don’t feel bad about doing your own thing. You spend your whole week accommodating to people at work- that means if your friend group is trying to pressure you to go out on the town but you really want to overhaul your messy room, YOU DO YOU. It’s okay to skip out on the crowd sometimes and do what makes you feel better.

We hope this helps you in your search for more you-time!


Have you come up with a system that works for you? How have you succeeded in balancing your hobbies? Comment below or e-mail us at pittstopblog@gmail.com.

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