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It's time to rethink
your free time

Doing nothing is overrated.

I don’t know about you but after a stressful day at work, coming home and binge watching The Office for the 7th time sounds pretty good. Or even better, canceling all my previous plans and then binge watching The Office. And nothing against The Office, but when I do that after a little bit I find myself thinking: “why?” ... and I think that’s a really great question to ask.

In situations like this I found myself drawn to a lot of “low value” activities. I’m sure most of you are familiar with them: doom scrolling through social media apps, checking the news app on your phone for the twentieth time for who knows why, binge watching until your eyes are in pain. And while these “decompressing” type activities have their place, it’s worth asking why we go to them in the first place.

Why do we binge shows, or endlessly scroll, or incessantly check the news?

And I’m not talking about the fact that most popular apps on our phone are psychologically-engineered addiction traps, but why do we approach these apps at all, before they have a chance to sink their teeth in?

Perhaps you check the news a bunch because you don’t want to miss out on what’s going on or you want to be socially responsible. Maybe you downloaded Instagram because it was a good way to keep up with friends' lives or keep in touch with the people you met at that conference. You got into Youtube to learn about a new hobby. And of course you’re watching The Office for the 7th time–it’s hilarious and you need a good laugh after a stressful day.

These are all good reasons. The issue is how we use these tools no longer aligns with the reason we downloaded them in the first place. So if you asked “why” and identified the reason you use these things, a great follow up question is

"Is there a better
way to do this?"

Almost always the answer is yes.

There are better ways to keep up with friends, like calling or visiting them. There are better ways to relax after a stressful day, like going on a hike or spending time with loved ones. There are better ways to keep up with the news, like weekly updates sent to your inbox.

Now, we're obviously not Luddites because we're an e-commerce store. But it is important to examine how we use the technology around us and set parameters for its use so it can actually be a source of value to our lives. 

The reality is that treating our free time like this requires work.

But does our free time have to strictly consist of things that require no work at all?

In my experience, the most fulfilling free time I’ve had required some work.

Trips take planning, using apps in a way that’s valuable requires strategy, The Office is most enjoyable when un-binged and with my wife, finding great outdoor spots takes some exploration, great conversations with friends require intentionality with your schedule, and hobbies take thought and concentration to learn.

When I take stock of my “free time,” a general rule applies: The more you put in, the more you get out.

It's time to rethink your free time

BY JUSTIN HAGAN

Doing nothing is overrated.

I don’t know about you but after a stressful day at work, coming home and binge watching The Office for the 7th time sounds pretty good. Or even better, canceling all my previous plans and then binge watching The Office. And nothing against The Office, but when I do that after a little bit I find myself thinking: “why?” ... and I think that’s a really great question to ask.

In situations like this I found myself drawn to a lot of “low value” activities. I’m sure most of you are familiar with them: doom scrolling through social media apps, checking the news app on your phone for the twentieth time for who knows why, binge watching until your eyes are in pain. And while these “decompressing” type activities have their place, it’s worth asking why we go to them in the first place.

Why do we binge shows, or endlessly scroll,
or incessantly check the news?

And I’m not talking about the fact that most popular apps on our phone are psychologically-engineered addiction traps, but why do we approach these apps at all, before they have a chance to sink their teeth in?

Perhaps you check the news a bunch because you don’t want to miss out on what’s going on or you want to be socially responsible. Maybe you downloaded Instagram because it was a good way to keep up with friends' lives or keep in touch with the people you met at that conference. You got into Youtube to learn about a new hobby. And of course you’re watching The Office for the 7th time–it’s hilarious and you need a good laugh after a stressful day.

These are all good reasons. The issue is how we use these tools no longer aligns with the reason we downloaded them in the first place. So if you asked “why” and identified the reason you use these things, a great follow up question is

"Is there a better way to do this?"

Almost always the answer is yes.

There are better ways to keep up with friends, like calling or visiting them. There are better ways to relax after
a stressful day, like going on a hike or spending time with loved ones. There are better ways to keep up with the news, like weekly updates sent to your inbox.

Now, we're obviously not Luddites because we're an e-commerce store, but it is important to examine how we use the technology around us and set parameters for its use so it can actually be a source of value to our lives. 

The reality is that treating our free time like this requires work. But does our free time have to strictly consist of things that require no work at all?

In my experience, the most fulfilling free time I’ve had required some work.

Trips take planning, using apps in a way that’s valuable requires strategy, The Office is most enjoyable when
un-binged and with my wife, finding great outdoor spots takes some exploration, great conversations with friends require intentionality with your schedule, and hobbies take thought and concentration to learn.

When I take stock of my “free time,” a general rule applies: The more you put in, the more you get out.