Q&A: How Do Successful People Use Their Free Time?
What free time?…Just kidding, kind of.
Successful people are often extremely busy, whether it be with work, family, or continued education.
Sometimes just finding free time in the day is difficult. Successful people often have schedule for every hour of the day, so “free time” isn’t really a concept that exists for them. However, that’s not to say there isn’t “downtime.” It’s just that this time is usually built into the day, and it often serves a purpose beyond just kicking back and chilling.
To understand how a successful person spends his/her free time, it’s important to know how they spend the rest of their time as well. Often, successful people are exceptionally good at scheduling themselves and compartmentalizing their time, whether it be for work, for family, or for themselves.
In scheduling yourself wisely and completely devoting yourself, with both your physical and mental efforts, to each part of your life, you can become a more successful and productive version of yourself.
Setting Aside Time for Work
When you are at work, you are there to work. Nothing else. Don’t get caught up in water cooler b.s. Don’t let yourself become complacent in the day-to-day monotony. Push yourself.
Work hard at your job now so that you can spend devote more time later to your family or pursuing other passions. If you don’t give it your all at work, you’ll end up cheating yourself in the long-run.
Spending Time with Family
If you’re killing it at work but not showing up for your family, you can’t really say that you’re successful.
If you have a wife, kids, older parents to look after, you need to devote your attention to them for a set period of time every day. When you’re with them, you aren’t checking email, you aren’t thinking about that big work project, you aren’t closing yourself off and sitting alone in the living room for hours on end.
Although I work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and often again from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., I make sure that I am completely present for my wife and kids in the evening hours. I know that my wife has to spend a lot of time each day wrangling the kids and cleaning up after them, so this time is devoted to helping with the housework. Running a household is a full-time job in itself, so make sure that you and your partner are both contributing so that all the burden doesn’t fall on one person or the other.
Taking a Moment for Yourself
Now, if you aren’t used to it, those last two sections may seem overwhelming, and I’m certainly not suggesting that everyone needs to put in the hours that I do. It’s important for everyone, even us workaholics, to make sure we have time to relax and decompress.
Look for moments in your day that you can use as an opportunity to care for yourself. I’m fortunate in that I get to work from home, and I can devote a large chunk of time that other people may be stuck in traffic to my work or personal life. However, if you’re not in that situation, make that wasted time productive. Audio books and podcasts are great tools to help you sharpen your mind when you’d otherwise be bored out of your skull.
If you don’t have time for those little moments throughout your day, you should take some time in the evening or weekends for yourself.
What’s the best way to use those precious few hours? I find that successful people often use those hours as a personal investment. They don’t waste time mindlessly scrolling social media or flipping through tv channels. They workout to keep their body healthy. They spend time with family or friends to build their relationships. They study new things to improve their skill set.
All of these things can be fun and rejuvenating, but they also pay off in the long run and provide personal fulfillment, unlike the tiny time-wasters that build up in most people’s lives.
So, to answer the original question, I’d just say that for truly successful people, “free-time” is a myth, but that’s not to say that successful people are always at work. Time is a precious resource for them; it’s incredibly valuable.
Rich people have plans for how to spend each dollar, and successful people have plans for how to spend each minute.