Spare Time

I’ve got some spare time right now.

And so do you (I can tell, because you are reading this).

First, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for taking some of your spare time to read what I have to say. I mean, think about it… you could be doing anything right now.

That’s the interesting thing about spare time. It says a lot about you. What do you choose to do when you could be doing anything?


Or maybe Facebook?

To be fair, it takes several years of training to be a wingsuit base jumper (at least one who doesn’t die). But even if you just had 10 minutes, you could be learning about base jumping and planning when you are going to start your training. You (yes you) could be wingsuit base jumping a few short years from now.

But only if you choose to pursue it in your spare time.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been interviewing applicants to fill some positions at my work. During the interviews we asked many questions but one of my favorite ones was, “what do you do in your spare time?”

You could tell that some of the applicants were caught off guard (what DO I do in my spare time?!?). Perhaps you think it is an unfair question but I disagree. I would argue that what a person chooses to do in their spare time is what they value most. And if it isn’t, then why aren’t they doing what they value most in their spare time? That’s an indication of poor planning and poor time management. Either way, it says something about the applicant.

Of course, one response I liked was “What spare time?”

I can relate.

Sometimes I feel like I never have enough time to work on the stuff I really want to work on. That’s why I was really interested in this article by Derek Sivers (entrepreneur and TED speaker extraordinaire). He explains that if somebody comes to him with a new opportunity, he asks himself if he’s really *pumped about it. If he’s only kind of pumped, he says no. Why? Because then he’ll have more time to do the things he’s *really pumped about. In short, it’s a lesson on not over-committing yourself.

Another way to do it is to kill things on your to-do list. I have a to do list with like 37 things on it and let me tell you, there are few things more satisfying then looking at an item and saying “No! Actually, I’m NOT going to do this at all! I never wanted to do this in the first place, Hasta la vista, baby! (as item is vigorously erased).” It’s quite liberating.

Or try this exercise.

Imagine what it would be like if you had plenty of spare time. In fact, ask yourself, “If I had a full day to do anything a wanted, what would I do?”

do you have something yet?

Something awesome?

Now, pick a day… one off in the future where nothing has been scheduled. Block out the whole day as busy, as if there was some incredibly important event at that time. Refuse to schedule anything short of shooting hoops with Charles Barkley on that day.

Then, just spend the day doing that awesome thing. It could be longboarding or rock climbing or pretty much anything on It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s a phenomenal use of your spare time.

Now, I admit that I’m being a bit hypocritical. I don’t always use my time wisely (Holly can testify to that). But I have been re-evaluating what I do with my spare time. I’m looking to do better, and with the holidays coming up, I have a few empty days blocked out to do some really awesome things.

I encourage you to join me.