Steph spends her evenings reading, writing and getting fit. She used to be a complete TV soap addict, but she doesn't regret giving it up.
It is so easy to get home after work, eat dinner and then sit in front of the box until bed time. But is this time well spent? What have you achieved? This list should help you to get off the sofa and make a little more of your free time.
Maybe you could discover a new hobby, improve your health, become more productive or increase your earnings.
Groan... I know! But hear me out on this one. Get your housework done during the week and you have the weekends completely to yourself. Sound good?
It doesn't even have to be that tiring. Plan to do one chore each night, and by Friday you should have all or at least most of it done.
Ideas of things to do include:
- Clean the bathrooms
- Vacuuming/mopping the floors
- Washing and ironing (I suggest putting your washing machine on time delay before you go to bed so the washing has just been done when you get up. Then you can hang it out to dry all day, and iron it in the evening).
- Weekly shop
- Clean windows
I'm completely guilty of neglecting my hobbies. I love reading, but whenever someone asks me what I'm reading at the moment, often my response is, "I don't have time to read at the moment". What a lie. I do have time to watch TV, though.
Use your TV time to read, play sports, make crafts, or whatever else your heart desires. If you don't have a hobby, find one! It allows you to escape from the stresses of the workday.
Finding a hobby doesn't have to be hard; it can be fun taking the time to try new things. Do some research online into hobbies you can take up.
Here are some suggestions you may want to try:
- Golf: Start by hitting a few balls down at a driving range.
- Cycling: Try road riding or even mountain biking. You could ride in your local woods.
- Nature Watching: It can be fascinating trying to spot particular animals and watch their behaviour. At the same time, you'll be learning something new, which is never a bad thing.
- Jewellery making: Here you can be creative, and it can be very therapeutic putting things together. You may even be able to sell your jewellery and make some extra money!
- Running: You don't even need to buy anything for this hobby, just step outside your front door and run for as long and as far as you want.
- Write: Write a book, a blog, or an article for HubPages! Just get those creative juices flowing, or share your wisdom with others.
This one used to make me moan too—and sometimes it still does. But I have discovered that it's the thought of it rather than the exercise itself that puts me off. Once I start exercising, I love it!
Try going to the gym, doing a short YouTube video in the privacy of your own home, following a HIIT app on your phone, running, cycling or even skating.
You not only might enjoy it, but it will get your heart pumping and improve your fitness. Over time you'll find you can do things for longer without getting out of breath, and you'll be overjoyed with your achievements. Your body will thank you for it, too!
4. Start a Business
Fed up with the 9-5? Wish you could be your own boss? Have a passion that you can't pursue because of your day job? Well, do something about it!
You may not be able to set up a massive company overnight, but you can start to take the small steps to get you there. If you need to learn a few things before you set it up, take a course. You can start a website to begin advertising your services, or start producing your products to sell. If freelancing set yourself up on Upwork and start gaining a few clients.
Everyone has a talent that they could share and make a little extra cash from.
5. Meet Up With Friends
Meeting up with friends can be so difficult to arrange. But you can bet that all they're doing in the evenings is watching TV, just like you.
Arrange to meet up for a coffee, go to the cinema, go for dinner or even go to the gym together.
Either meet individual friends or as a group. Do this once a week and it will greatly benefit your mental health.
If your friends and family live a long way a way, take the time to phone them. Nowadays people are used to receiving text messages, but a phone call feels more personal and sometimes it's comforting to hear a familiar voice.
Maybe there's somewhere local you can volunteer; if so, put yourself forward! You get a great feeling knowing that you've helped others out who are more in need than yourself.
If you can't find anywhere local or a place that you can help out outside of work hours, maybe you can help remotely by writing articles for their newsletters, or delivering leaflets or collection bags.
Reach out to a charity you feel passionately about and ask how you can donate your time to give them a helping hand.
7. Home Improvements
Okay, this one is a bit like the housework idea. But everyone has a list of small things they need to do round the house, and most of them only take a few minutes.
Stop putting up with those things that bother you and do something about them! Once you've done them you'll be happier to go home and prouder to invite others round. It may even make you more comfortable.
Most people wait until they sell their house to get round to doing these things and then realise what they've been missing out on. Don't be one of these people!
8. Plan Ahead
Even when planning something nice, like a holiday, I always find myself stressing about things and not having as much time as I'd like. Prevent this by planning all those lovely things ahead of time!
Plan your weekends—maybe you need to get friends together or book tickets for a show. Do this during the week and then relax knowing that everything is sorted.
Plan your holidays—flights, hotels, visas, day trips, plan the lot. Get yourself a map of the area and look up suggestions of what to do from other holiday-makers on TripAdvisor.
Plan you future—what do you want to do and where do you want to be next year, or in five or ten years' time? Make a plan of what you need to do to get there. It will give you targets to reach, and you can focus on what you need to do each day to get there.
9. Spend Quality Time With Family
Many families sit together in front of the television and think that they are already spending quality time together. Wrong!
Try eating together around the dinner table (no TV!) and discussing the day you all had.
Board games can be great fun as a family. You find out how competitive each of you can get, and you can also work together to achieve a common goal.
Getting fit and healthy can also be done as a family. Go for a short walk after dinner and get to know one another better by talking. Just half an hour will make a huge difference to your family relationships.
10. Enjoy Other Media
Ever just listened to music without the distraction of anything else? How about read a book in the comfort of silence? Try it. It's pure luxury—a way to spoil yourself and get lost in something whilst not completely losing your train of thought. It even requires you to exercise that brain of yours at the same time!
You may discover a new favourite artist on Spotify or a new author.
© 2016 Stephanie Elford
gerrielynn on August 02, 2017:
Oh, my goodness! This is such a great article. I'm going to actually print this one out for myself, and also share it on my FB page for you. Hope you don't mind. It will link back to you of course, but I want all my friends to see this one! I'm not much of a couch potato, but I've noticed lately a tendency to want to come home from work and flop! I've published my first article on Hub and know that I need to keep that TV off, at least on week nights. I want to do not only write, but do so many of these other things you wrote about. Inspiring!!
Stephanie Elford (author) from Manchester, UK on October 25, 2016:
I agree with the housework view! You can't spend your whole life cleaning!
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on October 25, 2016:
Great list of a better use of our time. You are so right about exercise and housework. But my theory on housework is only do what most offends you at the moment. You could spend every waking hour cleaning and it is the definition of insanity (Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.) No house stays clean.
My husband and I have started walking after dinner, which is not only good for us but also only leaves time for one TV show a night. We pick something we've tivoed (?) so it is something we choose instead of just something to watch.