A couple of weeks ago, I had a weird day.
After a week-long trip to Iowa, my flight back to Florida got in late. I arrived at my hotel in Orlando around 11pm. I crashed and slept for nearly 12 hours and woke up the next morning at 11am. I’m usually awake by 8am.
Then, I drove to my parents’ house about three hours south of Orlando. The rest of the day, I kind of just ate, lounged around, and watched TV. Then, I went to bed.
Thinking about it now, I realize why it was an abnormal day for me.
I didn’t create anything.
I’ve gotten so used to creating every day. I usually either write, design something, or do both. Maybe that’s why I’m up at 6am writing this now.
When you boil it down, there are two ways you can spend your free time: you can either consume or create.
When I say free time, I mean actual discretionary free time that is 100% yours. When you’re not doing work, chores, or family obligations, that’s your free time.
Many people prefer to spend their free time consuming.
You can consume social media, TV, books, or other forms of entertainment.
Consumption feels good.
It’s a fun, enjoyable way to spend time.
We all need to sit back and consume from time to time.
The problem with spending ALL your free time consuming is that it doesn’t make you a better person.
Social media, TV, and even books are vehicles for consumption, but you are just a passenger along for the ride.
As a consumer, you don’t develop any valuable skills and you don’t serve anyone except yourself.
I’m not knocking consumption in its entirety. Like I said, we all need to consume from time-to-time. It’s all about finding a good ratio. I happen to think the right ratio is about 80/20 creation/consumption.
For example, I read a lot of books. However, I’ll even argue that reading isn’t a good skill-builder. Sure, you might obtain knowledge, but you don’t develop real skills until you actually practice and apply what you learn in real life.
When you spend your free time creating, the opposite happens.
Instead of watching that YouTube video, you’re making one that might benefit (or entertain) someone else.
Instead of reading a book, you’re writing one.
Instead of taking in someone else’s art, you are making art.
As a creator, you are no longer a passenger along for a mindless ride. You are in the driver’s seat.
Creation builds new skills, benefits others, and requires a totally different mindset.
In the long-run, it’s way more fulfilling.
How are you spending your free time?
Today’s practical thought of the day is this: try your hand at creation.
It doesn’t have to be something that feels like “work.” In fact, it shouldn’t be.
I love writing, so it doesn’t feel like work to me.
If you like building stuff around the house, go build a cabinet or something.
If you like painting, then paint.
If you like to make videos, do that.
But DO something.
Don’t just observe or listen or procrastinate.
Next time you have a free day or even a free hour, think about the best way you can spend it.
Are you going to remain stagnant, or hone a craft?
Are you going to entertain only yourself, or add value to someone else’s life?
Believe it or not, the more free time you spend creating, the more happy and fulfilled you will ultimately be.
How are you currently spending your free time? Are you a consumer or a creator? Leave a comment and let me know!
Featured image by Alice Achterhof.