Productive use of idle time

Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - April 29, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The title of this article might sound like an oxymoron to some. Idle time ceases to be idle once spent usefully. But everyone else get the point for sure – idle time is wasted time, and, thus, no time shall be allowed to go idle in the first place.

During these days of Covid-19 restrictions, everyone is suddenly confronted with a lot of time in their hands. Being stuck at home for long days is becoming such an intellectual and emotional hurdle to many people. It makes them feel somewhat guilty to just let the clock tick away without engaging in any productive activity. 

Time is one of a person’s most valuable assets. Unfortunately, only few recognize that time has a “limited-effectivity offer” attached to it; after all, there are only 24 hours in a day. Yet only few people strive to make every single moment count.

While some ‘easy’ time is necessary for maintenance of health, the fact is that there are many meaningful activities to engage in – even when resting. The idea of multitasking has its roots in an effort to maximize productive use of time. Since a time passed is gone forever, then might as well make the most time while it’s still available.

Jacqueline Whitmore, in an article at www.entrepreneur.com, shares six of many ways by which to use idle time:

1. Record your goals. To be successful at anything, you must first set clear goals of what you want to achieve.  People who write down their goals are far more likely to achieve them than those who simply think about a goal, or those who have no goal at all.

This will also save you a lot of time in the future. If you use your spare time to clearly record your daily and long-term goals, it will eliminate other distractions and give you an objective to focus on. Hence, time that would otherwise be spent on mindless diversions will be converted into productive time.

As you complete your goals, cross them off your list to give you a greater feeling of accomplishment.

2. Listen to audio books. Acquiring new knowledge never loses its value, and we should never really stop learning. The increase in technology has made it convenient to acquire information and with a wide variety of audio books that are available today (many of which can be downloaded for free), you can listen and learn while exercising or even while relaxing on the couch. It is like having someone read a book for you, at your convenience.

3. Learn another language. As with audio books, technology has made it quite simple to learn a new language. Gone are the days when it was necessary to sit in a classroom to learn, say, French. With CDs, downloads, and podcasts you can now conveniently begin your journey to becoming bilingual (or even multilingual). Knowledge of other languages will make you more professionally marketable.

4. Check out on your loved ones. Because productive people are often very busy, they may find it difficult to find the time to keep in touch with friends and family. As a matter of fact, it is easy for productive people to become so caught up in the goal of getting ahead that they can forget about their loved ones in the process. Although it may not be possible to lavish all the time you have on your loved ones, using your idle time to touch base with them over the phone, or on the internet and social media, will help bridge the gap.

5. Get moving. No matter how busy you are, you need to exercise if you want to remain healthy to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You can do some squats or lift hand weights while talking on the phone, or use your lunch break to walk around the neighborhood.

6. Give back. Part of happiness comes from serving others; so instead of just watching TV, help someone learn to read, serve dinner in a soup kitchen, or help an elderly neighbor with her errands. Doing so won’t demand too much of your time and yet provides a wealth of rewards in terms of feeling good about yourself.

No matter how busy one may be with work, there are sure to be a few gaps of time to find here and there. Such times can either be wasted away – or put to productive use. It is, thus, everyone’s challenge to spend his time wisely and make every second count.

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