We’ve all been there: sitting at home on our day off, trying to find something meaningful to do with our time, only to end up losing ourselves in 11 episodes of a Netflix TV series that we’ve already watched… straight through… twice.
It seems that when you’re bogged down with work, friends, and housework, you have a million different things you want to do when you finally get a second to yourself. But then, when that time comes, it’s as if your brain has forgotten all about work, friends, chores, and *unfortunately* everything you wanted to do with your free time.
So how do you make the most of your alone time?
As seldom as it may be at this point in your life, the time you actually do get to yourself is very important. It should be used to relax, wind down, get some personal stuff done, and free your mind of everything that has gnawed its way in over the week. What you shouldn’t be doing is sitting on your butt staring at a computer screen.
But since you can barely remember what you wanted to do for yourself in the first place, we have put together a list of some productive and relaxing ways to make the most out of your alone time. [Read: Sabotaging your happiness – 12 ways you could be ruining your own life]
#1 Make a list… and actually cross stuff off! It’s one thing to write down all of the activities you’re going to do when you finally get a second to yourself, but it’s another to actually accomplish them. Getting a haircut, painting your nails, reading a book, seeing that movie, and other things like this can get lost in the back of your mind if you don’t write them down somewhere.
Writing down these thoughts and ideas will not only help you to remember them, but it’ll also make it easier for you to get them done if you see that they are still awaiting a check mark. Don’t you just love the feeling of checking something off your list? Keep a notepad and pen with you at all times, so you can write down random thoughts that pop into your head. If you can’t carry a notepad, you can text the items to yourself to read later.
#2 Prioritize. It’s okay if you don’t end up watching a certain video on YouTube that someone told you about, but it’s not okay if you don’t get your hair cut before that upcoming wedding in which you are a bridesmaid, all because you just couldn’t pass up that YouTube video. We all know what happens: 2 minutes turns into 3 hours very quickly in the world of funny cat videos.
Getting the most important things accomplished first will actually help you with getting the rest of it done. When you finish your important list items, you will have more time for other things, and you will relax better knowing that those things are out of the way. [Read: 20 lifestyle changes you need to make in your 20s for a better life]
#3 Just say no! Don’t be afraid to say no to your friends and family or anyone else who is trying to take away your time when you need it for yourself. It’s okay to tell them that you’re otherwise occupied and won’t be able to make plans with them.
I’ve done this a number of times. Someone will ask if I want to grab a drink or something, and I’ll think about it for a bit, then decide that my silk pajamas are way more comfortable than jeans and a bra. At first, I may have been worried that they may get upset or annoyed, but honestly, they all understood. So it’s okay to tell loved ones you have some things of your own to take care of! [Read: How to balance your career, social life, and dating life]
#4 Turn off your cellphone. Or at least put it on silent or throw it in a drawer and forget about it for the day. There is nothing worse than having your phone go off 50 times in an hour when you’re trying to get things done. If you have to sit and reply to that many messages, emails, and voicemails, you are wasting time that could be spent accomplishing the things you want to get done.
If you’re worried about missing an emergency, you can just check your phone a couple of times a day. I know it can be tempting to have your phone right next to you at all times *like it’s your respirator and you need it to live*, but trust me. It’s better off being forgotten for the day.
#5 Get up early. If you have the morning to get things done, or even the whole day, set an alarm to get up a little bit earlier *cue the moans and groans from readers!* I know, I know, nobody wants to get up early on a day they have to themselves… but it is a great way to kick-start the day.
Waking up early gets you up and moving before most people are, making getting some boring things *think errands* done a bit easier. Starting your day off early will also ensure that you have plenty of time to get done what you need to. Plus, you can always nap later, if that’s what you wish to do! It is YOUR alone time, after all. [Read: 11 quick and easy morning routines to jumpstart a great day]
#6 Don’t think about anything else. Don’t let work, your parents, or even chores drag you down when you should be focusing on you. Those thoughts can easily conjure up stress and negativity, turning a day of rest and self-care into a nightmare.
Block all of those thoughts during the time you have to yourself. You can always worry about them when you get back to work or taking care of everyone else. For now, it’s time to take care of yourself. [Read: 14 really quick stress busters to recharge your mind]
#7 Try something new. If you really want to make the most of your alone time, then think outside the box. What good is a day to yourself when you don’t spend the time doing something you’ve never done before?
Go see a new movie, visit that restaurant you keep telling yourself you’ll try, or even just shop at a new store. How can your alone time be wasted if you’re busy doing new and exciting things? You will most likely learn a thing or two, and maybe you’ll even find a new favorite place to eat. You never know. [Read: 6 ways to stop glorifying busy and start living instead]
#8 Do whatever you want! It’s YOUR time! You can do absolutely anything that you want to. Don’t settle for chores and things that HAVE to be done while you have the time. Do the things you actually WANT to do.
If you want to sit and watch 11 episodes of a series that you’ve already seen twice, then go for it! Ultimately, the time is yours to do with what you want, and nobody can tell you differently. Making the most out of your alone time really is all about making sure you get what you want done and enjoying it. Forget the rest! [Read: 11 ways to fall in love with yourself and be a better you]
Your alone time may seem like a waste if you’re not doing all of the things necessary to make the most out of it. I’ve been there, and I’m sure most of you have, too. Using the tips above, however, your wasted days can be a thing of the past.
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