How to get creative with your downtime

Using downtime well Flickr user John-Morgan

(MoneyWatch) A woman I know with a pool in her backyard has been trying to make the most of it this summer. All she needs is a spare 20 minutes -- when the kids are watching TV, say -- and she's out there paddling around. It's a lot more relaxing than checking Facebook.

Smart idea. When I've had people keep track of their time for me, they're always amazed by how much open time is there, even in the busiest schedule. The problem is it seems to come in short bursts. Because we're not prepared for these brief interludes, we do whatever is easiest: putter around the house, look at a magazine we've looked at before, check email again, wander over to see what's in the fridge.

A better approach is to think of things like a dip in a backyard pool that we'd actually enjoy. Maybe it's savoring a bowl of ice cream on the back porch. Maybe it's reading a poem. Maybe it's taking a bath, or doing a quick run on a treadmill or playing the piano. Whatever it is, it probably falls in the category of things we'd like to do if only we had time.

But we do have time. Make a list of these "bits of joy" items that can fill in bits of time, and get everything together you might need. Then, when a bit of space opens up in your schedule, you can revel in it. Savor it. And start doing something more creative with your downtime than staring at the computer again.

How do you make the most of your downtime?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user John-Morgan

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