10 Ways to Spend Found Time

© Alis Photo - Fotolia.com

© Alis Photo – Fotolia.com

Time, it is said, is the only thing that once we spend it, we can’t get it back. That’s why I love “found” time: a client who cancels, a lunch date that falls through … any time you had scheduled for some activity or event that you suddenly have open, that’s found time.

Found time is equivalent to a windfall or mad money; therefore, spend it on something you wouldn’t ordinarily do, or to complete something that is weighing on you. Found time is opportunity time! Here are 10 ways to spend it wisely:

1. Treat yourself. What really makes you feel great? A manicure? A blow out at your favorite salon? Whatever it is, many salons welcome walk-ins and making yourself feel pretty is never a waste of time for busy people.

2. Write a letter. I mean it – a letter. Not an email. Find a pretty note card or a piece of stationery and write a thank-you note for a recent gift or kindness, or a “just saying ‘hi'” note to a friend you haven’t seen in a while.

3. Read a book. How many books are sitting on your shelf (physical or virtual) unread? They sounded so good in the bookstore or on the e-reader site, didn’t they? Crack one open and let yourself be transported or transformed for a little while.

4. Go outside. No matter where you are or what time of year it is, get outside for a little fresh air, a change of scenery, and a change of auditory input. Just listen to what’s around you. Take a walk. Sit in the sun.

5. Clean out a drawer. Okay, this is very practical but it can also have a tremendously big impact on your stress level. Is there a particular space or drawer that you never seem to be able to get to, or have a hard time finding anything in it? Take some time to sort, purge and replace its contents in an orderly way.

6. Refresh a room. I’m not talking about renovating a room, but in even 15 minutes you can make a difference in how a room looks and feels. For example, in a family room you could clear out clutter, go through that magazine “collection” on the coffee table, swap out the pillows on the couch, change the photos in the frames on the sofa table, or even re-arrange a bookcase. Sometimes even the smallest change can make a difference, and you don’t have to purchase a thing!

7. Swallow your excuses. Is there something that you tell yourself you “never have time for?” Well guess what!? Now you do have time for it! So set aside that excuse and get to it. Look at your list of undone or unfinished projects. Is there something on there that can be completed in the time you have? Think of the glee and joy you’ll experience crossing something off that list!

8. Nurture your relationships. Chances are, there is a backlog of emails, phone calls and Facebook posts from friends (not business associates!) that you’ve been meaning to return or reply to. Do it now! Just catch up with your friends and see what is going on for them.

9. See a movie. Has it been a while since you saw something on the big screen, or in your age bracket? If so, use some found time to be entertained.  If nothing else, it’s a chance to turn off your phone!

10. Go shopping! This is one of the keys to being a great gift-giver: shopping “when” you are. I love using found time to get a head start on holiday shopping, or to find gifts for events I know are on the horizon (birthdays, weddings).

Whether you have 15 minutes or a couple of hours, there are certainly lots more ways to spend your found time. What’s your favorite thing to do? Leave me a comment or post it on Facebook.

Read More