We’re all busy. We’re all rushing from one activity to the next -- from home, to work, and back again -- while barely coming up for air. Free time -- or even just downtime -- simply doesn’t exist. I can’t count the number of friends who’ve said to me recently that all they really want in life is some extra time in their day to just relax, or to do absolutely nothing.
But guess what? There is some extra time in your day. It’s right there, in-between all the activities you’re racing back and forth from all the time. I call these “in-between moments,” and they’re the most overlooked, under-appreciated, and under-utilized parts of the day. In-between moments include:
Commuting to work, to the gym, to picking up your kids, to lunch with a friend.
Waiting for an appointment, a meeting, in line at the store.
Getting ready for work, for an event, for the day.
Most of us think of these transitions as wasted time -- moments we have to endure to get to the next thing on our schedule, the next activity in our day. But what if we started to think of them as times when we have an opportunity to do something relaxing, restorative, and just plain enjoyable? Here are a few suggestions:
Use your commute to enjoy some silence or listen to a favorite playlist or podcast.
Catch up on some reading while you wait for an appointment or a meeting to start, or enjoy a few minutes of quiet meditation, which can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths.
Be totally present while you’re getting ready for what’s to come next, and pay attention to the little details you’re taking care of along the way. Focusing on what you’re doing -- or uni-tasking -- is a good way to reduce stress and calm your mind.
Once you stop thinking of the time between the big “important” things in your day as wasted time and start seeing the good you can do with it, you’ll realize that all those small moments holding your day together are really important, too. And that’s when you’ll start feeling like you have more free time in your life than you thought.
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