How to spend spare time wisely

I’m a member of the Minimalist Hustler community, and Jamie Northrup (the founder) challenged us to answer an interesting question.

How to spend spare time wisely
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I’m a member of the Minimalist Hustler community, and Jamie Northrup (the founder) has challenged us to answer this question on Medium:
“If you (and only you) had an eighth day each week, what would you do with it?”
Obviously the correct answer to the question is to finally sort through our phone’s photo roll, right? But maybe that’s too much of an impulsive answer…
It’s actually tempting to overthink a question like this, because obviously who wouldn’t jump at the chance of an extra day to Get Stuff Done?
We all feel pressured and time-poor these days, and the brain immediately starts making lists of long put-off jobs, or missed pleasures.
As a dad of young adults, a dog owner, and having elderly family members I’m all to aware of my own current time limitations. It’s hard to even think about guilt-free time.
I’m also an ‘indie’ — a freelancer by day, and building things as a solopreneur whenever I can. Which can make living in an era of seemingly infinite opportunities and possibilities hard. It can leave people like me frustrated that we’re not capitalising all of the time. So offering us an extra day is a dangerous thing, which would be easy to misspend.
I don’t think that’s the point of the question anyway. It’s an imaginary day, not a real one. So let’s not try to optimise it for maximum value potential when it doesn’t really exist.
I wonder if the point of it is to imagine how you should be better spending the actual 7 days you have?
I’m old enough to remember before the internet, when in actual fact we didn’t have so-much-to-do. There wasn’t unlimited information to consume, or endless entertainment at out fingertips. We worked hard yes, but once work stopped (ah, the days when work actually stopped!) we were a little better at looking after ourselves, and others.
That’s one way of looking at it, but then another thought occurred to me. If it’s only me getting this extra day, surely that means I can’t really do a lot of things — because you couldn’t interact with other people (see what I mean about over thinking?).
Does time stop on this day? Where is everyone else? Do the normal daily things exist?
It’s too hard to think about it all, so I concluded the best thing is to stick to simple, personal things I would do if a time arose when…pause for effect… nobody is expecting anything from me.
Surely that is the big takeaway here. How would you spend time if there were no expectations of you?
I feel like it could be a truly creative time for me, because real creativity is proving harder to achieve these days — when you (or others) question the value of every way you spend every moment.
So my guess is I would spend the time learning to be as creative as a child again, with things like:
  • Messing about making (physical) stuff
  • Reading, uninterrupted
  • Doodle or sketch
  • Watch the weather out the window
  • Write short stories
  • Go for a walk without a plan
And probably much much more, once I unlearned the pressures of modern life. I’d hope that that would set me up for the rest of the week, back in the real world — feeling more creative and human, for those 7 days.
There is, however one final important point I’m going to make. This being only 1 day per week is important. You couldn’t do it every day.
Having spare time doesn’t mean anything if it’s all the time. You need those other, manic days for a day off now and then to have meaning.
What about you, how would spend an extra day of the week? Let me know in the comments.

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