20 Productive Ways To Spend Your Time And make Each Moment Count

You may have recently discovered that you have a lot of free time. Or maybe you’re tired of spending all of your free time in front of the TV. Either way, it’s important to find something productive to do with your free time, because sitting and staring at the wall just isn’t going to cut it! Below are 20 productive ways to spend your time which could help you transform your life!

20 Productive Was To Spend Your Time

1| Read Something Educational

Many adults in the United States don’t read a single book after they finish school. But did you know that reading provides endless benefits which can help you in both your health and social life? 

Reading provides mental stimulation which can help keep degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay. And it will help improve your ability to memorize facts and information in the meantime. 

It can also help reduce stress, which plays a major factor in your health and mood on a daily basis. But besides just these health benefits, reading also helps expand your knowledge and vocabulary, which can make it easier for you to make friends or land the career of your dreams. To achieve best results, most experts recommend you read at least 30 minutes each day. But if you have tons of free time, don’t be afraid to read more!

And the best part is, for the most part, reading is completely free. Even if you can’t afford to purchase a new book, you can ask around and find a friend to loan you one. Or you can head to your local library and borrow one to read. This means that reading is a great way to spend your free time which won’t hurt your finances! 

2| Update Your Goals

You may already know the importance of making goals and writing them down. And if you don’t now is the time to do so. Take some of your free time and spend it with a paper and pencil thinking of the things in life you want to achieve. 

But once you have these written down, you aren’t done. You need to regularly check back in with these goals and gauge how you are doing on your path to complete them. And life is a crazy thing, sometimes, you may write down your goal, but then life will change and you will need to change your goals as well. 

For example, you may have written down that you want to compete in a certain race or event. And then, months later, the event you were training for is cancelled. This is when you need to revisit your goals and figure out whether you want to train for a different event or adjust your goals for the new timeline. 

Not only that but revisiting your goals will also likely give you a feeling of accomplishment, as you probably have made some progress on them. Just make sure you keep your written goals in a safe place so you won’t waste your precious free time digging around for them.

3| Organize Your Space

Do you struggle with managing your stress? This may surprise you but according to Very Well Mind, one of the reasons you could be stressed is because of the clutter in your space. So as difficult as it may be, it’s time to use your free time to organize your space. And not only will this lower your stress levels, but it will also save you time and money in the future—which is always a good use of your free time.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to start small. Is the entire garage in disarray? Conquer one corner at a time. Or if your room is a mess, maybe just start with the desk. Pick up some supplied such as plastic bins and materials to label them. 

For those on a budget, shoe boxes with masking tape and a sharpie can work just as well. You can even cut holes in cereal boxes to make file holders.

Although organizing may not be your favorite way to spend your free time, the next time you need to find something and are able to do so immediately will definitely have you thanking your past self!

4| Exercise

There are so many benefits to exercise, there is no reason not to spend your free time exercising. Even if you already have an exercise routine which is incorporated into your everyday agenda, this doesn’t mean you can spend extra time doing less strenuous and more fun exercise.

For example, you could head to the park for a walk, or maybe invite a friend to play some tennis. Although these activities may not be enough exercise to meet your personal quota, they can still be a fun and healthy way to spend an afternoon. In fact, according to the CDC, besides just the long term benefits you will have from maintaining a regular workout routine, just spending an afternoon being active can help boost your mood and cognition levels immediately. 

Therefore, even if you start out your free time feeling a little sluggish or foggy, force yourself to get off the couch and engage in something active. Chances are you’ll feel much better than if you remain on the couch.

5| Meditate

Hopefully when you think of free time, this means you have already meditated at least once during your daily routine. But the benefits of meditation are endless. And if you have free time, spending some extra time in meditation is much more productive than watching TV.

According to Healthline, meditation reduces stress, controls anxiety, and helps promote emotional health—all factors which are critical to living a happy life. It has even been shown in some studies in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease to help lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s later in life. 

So don’t be afraid to find a quiet place and spend some of your free time in meditation! You can also consider taking a meditation class or meditating with a guide in your free time for a little variation. 

6| Find A Side Hustle

When most people think of the word productive, money comes to mind. And they aren’t wrong, making money in your free time is productive. This is why you should find a side hustle that you enjoy doing in your free time.

There are tons of side hustles out there, so finding one you like shouldn’t be a problem. Or you can also invent your own, the sky is the limit. If you like dogs, consider starting a dog walking business.

Or if you like to make a certain craft, find a way to sell them at a local market or maybe online. You could even make flyers offering your services as a babysitter, or meal prepper, and put them on doors in your neighborhood. And if you don’t want  to start a company of some sort, don’t fret, as you could even look into just filling out some surveys for a few dollars. It’s that simple.

Regardless, who doesn’t want a little extra money? If you spend your free time working a side hustle you will be turning your free time into money you can use to invest or put into a savings account. And this beats laying around on social media any day.

7| Learn Something New

According to Dr. Rick Hansen, learning is one of the most critical aspects of life which can bring on changes like no other. And this means that any time you have free time, you should be striving to learn something new.

Learning has been shown to be the fuel behind a change in behavior, mood, or outlook. So, this means that if you want to be someone different or react to situations differently, this will require learning. 

And not only that, but if you want to be able to conquer challenges in your life more easily, this will require regular learning. The best way to do this is by reading or taking a class. You could also download an app on your phone which teaches you a new word every day. 

Whatever you decide you want to learn, make it your goal to learn that subject, then return to it every time you have free time. This way you can work to cultivate the knowledge and make the changes you desire in your life.

8| Create Something

Think about all of the greatest inventions of the current age. Do you think the lightbulb just appeared one day? How about the computer? Both of these inventions took an idea, and hour and hours of construction to make. Do you have an idea for something cool? Try building it in your free time.

Sometimes people who have an idea won’t pursue their idea because they are afraid it won’t be successful, or people tell them it won’t be. But who knows, your inventions could be the next big thing, you just need to devote some time and energy to it.

So next time you have a few hours to sit around, instead of binging a show on Netflix, draw you’re your invention, then work towards creating it. You may just be surprised by what you discover!

9| Play Memory Games

Wait, playing memory games is actually constructive? As surprised as you may be, if you want to play games in your free time, you can, just make sure they are memory games which are constructive to your mental well-being.

Your memory is like a muscle, and it needs to be exercised in order to stay fit. And the experts at Healthline recommend that you engage in some sort of memory game each and every day. This doesn’t mean you have to download an app. 

You could also play a memory game with cards, or by looking in a drawer for a few seconds then trying to list all of the things you saw there. Take your practice a step further and invite a family member or friend to join you, after all, everything is more fun when you aren’t alone!

Whatever activity you decide to pick to keep your memory active, it’s recommended that you spend at least half an hour to an hour on that activity every day for best results. 

10| Take A Look At Your Finances

Once you become an adult, whenever you have free time, it is a good idea to look at your finances. Beyond just everyday goals for yourself, you should also have financial goals for yourself. These financial goals can be how much you want to save, or perhaps a list of things you are saving for such as a house or car. 

There are plenty of apps for your phone or computer which can help you learn to save money, but a paper and pen can work just as well too. You should definitely have a budget by this point, and if you don’t, it is far past the time when you should be creating one for yourself. 

When you have free time, look back over your budget. Are you meeting it every month? Are there some areas you are going over? Maybe you need to cancel a subscription or cut back on eating out, now is the time to figure that out.

Although budgeting and checking finances doesn’t seem very fun, it is a very productive way to spend your time. Because once you have a budget, and finance goals, you will be well on your way to having the things you want in life, even if it takes a little work right now. 

11| Spend Time In Nature

Even if you are too tired to exercise when it comes to your free time, this doesn’t mean you have to spend it sitting inside. According to The Well Nest, even just sitting outside in nature can have a number of health benefits for your body.

First of all, sitting in nature has been shown to lower levels of stress in the body, and this makes sense because it most certainly feels relaxing to be outside. Being outside also helps boost immunity as your body is exposed to new germs and bacteria. 

This is good because your body will be more ready to fight more serious illnesses later, all because you chose to sit outside with a cup of coffee instead of on the couch. If these two reasons weren’t enough, in some studies carried out by Stanford Researchers, it was discovered that spending time in nature actually helps to resolve mental health issues. 

Maybe you only have a few minutes of free time a day, but not to worry as that is enough to spend time in nature. So, grab your morning beverage and sip it in nature while watching the sunrise!

12| Volunteer For A Cause

It’s highly likely that you already do several things on this list as part of your everyday routine. And that’s a good sign. But if you’re still looking for something productive with which to fill your time that you don’t already do, then it’s time to consider volunteering for a cause you care about.

Volunteering is important because it helps your community, while also helping you grow as a person. And whatever your strengths in life may be, there is a volunteer position available for you. If you like to work with children, find an after-school program offered by a school to volunteer at. 

Or if you enjoy cooking, ask at your local homeless shelter if they need help. If you prefer to do something solitary, even just picking up trash on the side of the highway or the beach can be a huge help. And although these activities may not sound like that much fun, you’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy them, and learning about yourself in the process. 

13| Make Vision Boards

List goals are necessary, but they aren’t always fun. Nor does writing down a goal always give you the incentive or push you need to get started. If this sounds like you, then it might be a good idea to spend your free time making vision boards.

A vision board is a visual representation of a goal you wish to achieve. You can construct it out of pictures you take yourself or find in magazines, or you can build one using a number of online platforms. 

For best results you should have a vision board which correlates to each goal you wish to achieve. This will help your goals seem more real as well as jump start the visualization process. Both of which are necessary if you truly want to achieve your goals. 

Once you’ve constructed your boards, put them somewhere where you will be able to see them frequently, this way your goals will stay on the front of your mind!

14| Start A Blog

No matter what your schedule is like, you should be engaging in writing for at least a few minutes every day. This is because writing helps you organize your thoughts and process what is going on in your life—which is a key aspect of mental health. 

Now, it’s possible that you find writing in a journal on a daily basis to be a little boring, and not to worry, you aren’t alone. Lots of people find that writing in a journal just isn’t for them! But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write when you have free time. Instead, you just need to work on a different outlet for your writing. 

The easiest way is by creating a blog where you can share your feelings, recipes, or travels with others. Or you could even write a book or memoir about your life. This can be extremely challenging, but it will be much more rewarding than just journaling in the end. 

Writing, just like meditation, is best done where there are no distractions. So, take your computer, or paper and pencil, to somewhere quiet where you can work. You can even take it with you to a nature spot, combining this productive way to spend your time with another on this list. 

15| Check In With Friends

As you get older, you tend to see your friends less and less. And if you work from home, then you may not see them unless you make plans in advance. This doesn’t mean your friends need you any less however, and sometimes just asking how someone is doing can do a long way towards making their day.

People often complain that as they get older, friends tend to drift away. And this can happen if you don’t take the time to talk to them. Remember, relationships are two-way streets and require some effort to maintain. They aren’t just going to happen automatically. 

Humans need to feel that someone cares, and although life can often be busy, when you have some free time, resolve to send texts to your closest friends and see how they are doing. Or better yet, give them a call! Either is a quick and low stress way to spend some time with your friends even if you don’t have time to hang out in person. 

Besides just showing your friend that you care, this will also strengthen your relationship, which means that when you need a friend, they will probably be there for you. 

16| Learn A Language

Do you want to boost your brain power? Well, the one proven way to do so, according to the Eton Institute, is by trying to learn a new language. 

Learning a new language is a fun way to exercise your brain, memory, and cognitive skills while also learning something new. And the best part is, unlike some skills which you may learn and feel that you can never use in real life, a language can come in handy in many different situations! And jobs love to see that you know another language when you apply!

Don’t feel that you have to learn a traditional language either. This is your free time; therefore, you get to pick the language. Want to learn sign language? Go for it! Or maybe you want to master Latin or Gaelic, either one will give you the same mental benefits listed above, you just may find they are a bit less useful.

17| Try A New Recipe (Or Invent One!)

Everyone loves to eat. So next time you find yourself with a few extra hours, why not try cooking something new? Or putting a new spin on a recipe which already exists? This is especially useful if you are looking to become more health conscious or have friends with dietary restrictions.

For example, if you love to bake, why not try your favorite cake but replace the flour with something that is gluten free? Not only might you discover a delicious new snack, but your friend who can’t have gluten will certainly thank you! 

You could also try making your favorite dish from a restaurant and seeing if you can do so for less money! And the best part of all this is, you get to eat when you’re done, which is a very productive use of free time. 

18| Network

Networking is an important aspect of life, especially if you are looking to change careers. Networking is all about who you know and having a mutually beneficial relationship with someone on a professional level.

People often misunderstand the work it takes to build a network. You don’t just wake up one day and know a bunch of people who work all over the globe. It takes time, patience, and maintenance to build a network. You can start by using social media, but it’s always best to attend events in your area which pertain to the type of network you are looking to build. 

This is because a face-to-face relationship tends to build a stronger connection. So next time you have an evening of free time, see what sort of networking events are available in your area and attend one!

19| Sell Your Old Stuff

Too much clutter in your home? Looking for some quick cash? Then it’s time to spend your free time selling your own stuff. 

In the era of the internet, this is very easy, and usually you just have to snap pictures of your stuff and create a listing. But you can also go the old-fashioned route and hold a garage sale, or you can take your items to a second-hand store which purchases old items and see what they are worth. Either way, this one is a win-win, because you’ll both organize your space, as well as get money to put towards your financial goals!

20| Plant A Tree Or A Garden

As previously mentioned, nature is very therapeutic when it comes to relaxing the human mind. But nature is quickly disappearing. You can do your part to save nature, and spend time reaping the benefits of nature by planting a tree or garden.

Of course, if you don’t have a place to plant a tree or garden, this probably sounds difficult, but you can always see about the cost of renting a plot at the community garden. You can also offer to help an elderly neighbor with their garden. And if all else fails, you can also get indoor plants and put them in on the window sill. This isn’t quite as great as a garden, but it’s still something!

However, you look at it, planting and gardening is relaxing and helps lower stress, so find a way to work some plants into your free time. 


It can be difficult to think of productive things to do in your free time. But now that you have this list, you shouldn’t find yourself bored again. And if you complete some of the items on this list, or maybe even all of them, you’ll be surprised by the changes which will follow in your life. All because you used your free time for productivity instead of the TV.