Fill Your Time Wisely, But How?

by AJ Pettersen · 4 comments


My wife and I have weird work lives. I only have mandatory work from March through August, while my wife works from September through November and January through March. We only overlap for one month out of the year. My wife has begun her first real down period while I’m still in season. One week was enough for her to start thinking of ways to fill her down time, while I need to start thinking about what I’m going to do when September rolls around.

For Her

I always used to look forward to breaks from school or work, but I’d get bored after a few days or a week. I’d need to find something to keep myself occupied until I returned to normalcy. This is how my wife feels right now. She was looking forward to a few months off after a four month nursing assignment. Now, she’s trying to find something to make her time worthwhile until we return home and she gets another assignment.

She’s looking for some hobbies or even some work, so we began brainstorming. We found that nurses can get stay-at-home jobs, working over the phone or internet. She’s applied for a few positions and has also begun extensive training on our dog.

Life is all about feeling worthwhile. When you don’t feel like you’re spending your time wisely, you may start to ponder its meaning.

For Me

The same situation occurs for me when the season ends in the fall. The tired feeling from a long season ends after about a week, and I’m left looking for what’s next. Freelance writing has filled a good amount of time each of the past two offseasons. Working out for the next season takes up about 25-30 hours a week. This still leaves a pretty good chunk of time for other activities.

I’ve considered looking for an in-person job this offseason, but I’m still not sure if it’s a plausible idea. We’ll only be living in Minnesota for four months, which would make employment fairly difficult.

For You

While not many couples are in the same situation as my wife and me, many people experience this issue a few times in their lives. For younger kids, this happens when school ends or a break starts. For adults,  it might happen when you quit or lose your job, find new employment, or have a large break in work. Your kids going away to college could generate the same feeling. Anything that frees up a lot of time will be followed by this feeling fairly quickly.

Many people spend their lives switching hobbies and finding new things to do. My mother-in-law enjoys crocheting, while my mom was a stay-at-home mother for many years and has found a new job as a preschool coordinator.

Life isn’t all about making and spending money; a lot of it is about spending your time wisely. How can you feel as though you’re doing something worthwhile?

What do you do when you feel you aren’t filling your time well?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Rita P says:

    Well time flies if you are engaged or busy with something. For me it has been something or the other all the time in personal or professional life. But yes if you are focused too much on work you won’t allow yourself to spend time for own stuffs.

  • Anton Ivanov says:

    Great ideas, although I don’t see myself having any spare time anytime soon. My online and real estate businesses take up the bulk of my day and rest is taken up by reading or spending time with my girlfriend.

  • Joshua Rodriguez says:

    I don’t think I have ever had issues with too much down time. I find the fun in everything I do, so i’m always busy!

    I fully agree with KM, on “Maybe the problem people face is not the downtime, but being so focused on their work that they don’t know what to do without it”. My words exactly!

  • KM says:

    I have never had this problem with finding something to fill my downtime. I have so many interests and so many things I want to do that even without a job, I don’t have time for it all. Between starting a balcony vegetable garden, knitting, taking classes I never had time for before, reading, and learning all kinds of things from random places, I have yet to feel bored after being laid off. Of course, finding new work is taking a chunk out of my time too, but I think I would only be bored if I had no interests outside of work. Maybe the problem people face is not the downtime, but being so focused on their work that they don’t know what to do without it.

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