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Making the Most of Leisure

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Person in a boat holding up a large fish they caught during their leisure time away from work.

We’ve talked about productivity, inspiration, leadership, and many more topics before here at Resume Advisers. It makes sense that people want to work better, achieve more, and advance in their careers.

In the midst of that drive to work, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of leisure time.

According to Tom Cramer’s article on LinkedIn, leaders who devote time to leisure are actually more productive than those who don’t. Research suggests that neglecting leisure and relaxation time can lead to anxiety and stress as well as an overall decrease in your mental health. Further studies make it clear that devoting more time to leisure can actually increase your quality of life and work so today, let’s talk about how to make the most of your leisure time.

Why are we so opposed to leisure?

The first thing we might ask when talking about leisure and how to make good use of it is why more people aren’t already on board with it. After all, most of us would love to kick back and relax, right? In truth, there are a number of reasons. On the one hand, leisure time doesn’t feel particularly productive.

It’s easy to feel guilty for taking time for yourself, especially when you, your company, and others in your life have a lot to do.

There’s also a mindset that simply working harder will get you ahead in life, even if this is backed up by very little evidence. And especially nowadays, it’s easy to spend time being busy, switching between tasks and duties, without really accomplishing much. This kind of busywork primes us to feel like we don’t have time for anything else, even when we actually have much more time than we think.

Planning for leisure

Because one of the biggest obstacles to spending leisure time is the sense that there is too much to do, addressing this obstacle is key. As a first step, making effective lists can be a huge help. When we don’t have a good grasp on all we have to do, it can be very intimidating and burdensome. Writing it down wrangles the beast into a form we can contend with, especially when we can check items off a list and see the work and list, getting shorter.

Lists also help us prioritize, stick with the program, and focus on what really matters; all with the goal of helping you make time for leisure.

Hand in hand with working from a list is breaking the habit of trying to multitask. Plenty of research over the last decade has shown that we aren’t as good multitaskers as we think we are so try to focus on one item at a time and you’ll end up accomplishing more.

Better leisure:

When it comes time to take a break, to take a step back from responsibilities, what will you do? Especially for those who are struggling to bring leisure into their lives, consider targeting what sort of activities you engage in for leisure. Exercise such as going for a walk is not only a good break for your mind, its healthy for your body as well. Another thing to consider is that leisure should be prioritized to an extent as well.

You only have so much free time, make sure your leisure activity is something you truly care about and want to do rather than something to just pass the time.

It’s not unlike the tidying principles of the famed Marie Kondo: does the activity spark joy for you?

It may seem that making the most of your leisure time is more work than you thought. But planning, prioritizing, and facilitating leisure goals can have be restorative. The quality of your life can improve when you take time to relax, do things you enjoy, and reward yourself with time away from work. Actively pursuing leisure time is not only good for your mental health, it can help make you a happier, healthier, and of course, more productive person. So what are you waiting for… go take a break!


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