Experts Explain What to do with 15 Minutes of Free Time

Leverage your free time to find ways to improve your day-to-day life  

We've never been more connected as a society than we are now. With that comes a lot of upsides, like always being in the loop on the lives of your loved ones or knowing exactly what friends are doing at any given second. That being said, there are some downsides to constant connection, as well. One of them is less free time. So, it's important to make the most of the limited downtime you have to yourself.


So, you've got 15 minutes. Here are the suggestions of nine mindfulness experts and life coaches to help you decide what to do with your free time.


1. Write down your thoughts

“One of the most productive and mindful activities I have found that really works for me is journaling, or just writing down my thoughts," explains Jay Michaelson of Divuni Mindfulness Community.
“Fifteen minutes may sound like a short amount of time, but, spent correctly, those 15 minutes can help you put many things into place and perspective. This can help you understand things that you may not have been able to before."
He expands on this idea by saying, “Writing things down causes you to actively slow your mind. When we think about things, our minds race through thoughts. This doesn't leave us enough time to actually understand what we are thinking and even feeling."
“The reason writing slows down our minds is because we simply cannot write as fast as we think," explains Jay. "This means that, in order for us to write down our thoughts, our minds have to slow down. This forces us to sit with each particular thought in our mind, which allows us to understand each of them at a much deeper level."
Michaelson caps it all off by saying that this process, "Allows us to better understand situations, make better choices, reduce stress and anxiety and is, overall, an amazing mindfulness exercise that can provide immediate benefits."


2. Take advantage of that specific time

 “My answer to the question about 15 minutes of free time rather depends on what this time is in the middle of," says Catherine Nasskau, a Mindfulness Teacher for Mindful Surrey, a charity that provides mindfulness training and offers free meditations on their website.
She went on to play out a few scenarios:
She summed up her thoughts on free time with this piece of advice, “Mindfulness is about bringing awareness to our present moment experience and letting go of thoughts about the past and future. All of the above ideas are that. We can bring as much mindful awareness to the untidiness of a drawer as we do our breath or the sound of birds around us!"

3. Think about the positives

“Time slips so quickly through our fingers that 15 minutes feels almost like nothing (especially if you spend it distracted)," observes Ryan Kane, founder of&Mindfulness Box.
He encourages people to, “Think about how quickly 15 minutes of scrolling through social media goes by. That's why the best use of 15 minutes is to put it towards activities that have the potential to make the rest of your day better."
“I'd use gratitude and meditation to help set myself up for greater joy and presence for the rest of the day."
"First, I'd spend five minutes on a gratitude practice, giving thanks for all the things that add up to the life I'm lucky to live. Then, I'd spend 10 minutes on a simple awareness meditation, paying attention to my breath, noticing distractions as they arise and gently bringing my attention back to my breath."
“It's as simple as that," says Ryan. "With gratitude and meditation, you're ready to face the rest of the day with renewed engagement and clarity."

4. Take a mindful shower break

“In 15 minutes I would make a mindful shower break,” says Klaudia Adrych, Founder ofFrigginWell
Go to your bathroom and start by writing down all the things you want to free yourself from for those 15 minutes. Then, leave the note behind the door as a physical symbol that those things are happening elsewhere.” 
Now, Klaudia suggests that people, “Listen to all the sounds that are around them even if they are loud or annoying. Try to be the calm element in this environment. Try to pay full attention to your body muscles.” 
At this point, she recommends asking yourself a few questions. 
“Are my muscles tense? How about my jaw, forehead, shoulders, legs, and belly? What is my breath like? Where in the body does stress seem to be located at this moment?”
“Pay special attention to the body parts that feel tense. Give them a good massage and a moment of appreciation. It helps at the beginning of the mindfulness journey to list all the things these body parts do.”
She suggests wrapping up your mindful shower break by asking yourself one more question. 
“Am I thinking about my next steps already?”
In the end, the goal is to, “Try to forget what happened and what's going to happen and spend those 15 minutes with yourself, connecting your mind and body to become one functioning self again.”

5. Make meditation a priority

"We are so used to filling every moment of our day with some form of activity or another— constantly seeking distractions to cover up the inherent restlessness we feel inside."
Author, meditator and spiritual coach, Richard Patersonbreaks down his approach on how to spend free time with this, “I would spend the 15 minutes experiencing how it is to sit and do absolutely nothing."
He provided a short anecdote to explain exactly what he means by that.
“Someone said to the Indian Master Osho, 'I find meditation so boring.'"
“He replied, 'Yes. It's the most boring thing on earth. And that's the entire purpose… to sit and face your boredom, to face your restlessness, to face the essential meaninglessness of existence.'"
Richard summed up his thoughts by noting that, “Fully embracing the moment, unfiltered and exactly as it is, without seeking any form of entertainment, is an extremely rich and rewarding way to spend 15 minutes. With practice, you can learn to be peacefully empty and restless — to be joyfully bored."

6. Create better habits

“In order to maximize my 15 minutes of free time, I'd be intentional about how I want to experience the day," says Heather Ross of Heather Ross Coachingand the Living with Addiction Podcast. "We spend a lot of time recycling old thoughts that recreate similar experiences day after day. If you want to create new experiences in your life, you have to create new thoughts and practice them."
Heather broke down her process by stating, “I'd start by writing for five minutes to get everything I was thinking about the day out of my brain and onto a piece of paper."
“I'd spend the next five minutes reading what I wrote to see if my thoughts were serving me. I'd also ask myself high-quality questions like 'Are these thoughts or facts?' or 'How else can I look at this?'"
“Then, I would spend the last five minutes brainstorming thoughts I want to choose to create new experiences. I'd write my three favorite thoughts in the notes of my phone so I could keep looking at them and practice thinking them until they became a habit."

7. Meditate and vegetate

“In our hectic society, 15 minutes of free time is a gift we not only can give ourselves but that we need to give ourselves daily," explains Jennifer Robinson, creator and publisher of the Peaceful Living Wellness Digital Magazine.
“Spend that free time meditating or vegetating. Our brains go, go, go all day long. When we gift ourselves 15 minutes of meditation or vegetation, we give our tired brains a much-needed break!"
She further explains this idea by saying, “When I suggest to people to meditate OR vegetate, they often look at me quizzically and then ask, 'vegetate?' Absolutely!"
“While meditation gives our brains a rest that can be equivalent to sleep, if you are not a practiced meditator, you won't get that effect. I often recommend just vegetating!
Jennifer defines vegetating by saying, "Let your mind wander. Look around and take in the details of your current surroundings. Notice how the sights, smells and sounds affect your emotions. As you do this, start to deepen your breath. Take deeper inhalations and expel longer exhalations."
The idea behind this practice is that “Pretty soon, you will find that your vegetation session easily turns into a meditation session. And then, you get all of the benefits of both resting your brain through 'vegging out' and feeling the deep sense of relaxation and calm that comes from meditation."

8. Take a break from the tech

“Most people maintain a high-paced hustle throughout their day, oftentimes, to the point of exhaustion, stress and burnout," explains Sharon Lee, an International Life and Business Coach.
In line with other experts on this list, Sharon says, “What I do with 15 minutes of free time is meditate and journal. There's solid science to back up the benefits of implementing this on a daily basis. To live our best lives, especially at home, we want to stop the hurried lifestyle and learn to shut off electronics. Scrolling on social media or even just filling our time watching Netflix, disconnects us from our inner ability to resolve issues and consumes this important free time that could be spent soul searching and on self-care."
She sums it all up by clearly stating her belief that “Creating time in your day for meditation and journaling, even just for 15 minutes each day, will bring peace and overall well-being."

9. Take it slow

Above all else, Confidence and Interview Coach, Kim O'Neill stresses the fact that people need to, “Slow down, bring their attention inward and practice being present with their emotions."
She goes on to explain, “Emotions aren't just frivolous feeling states; they are information."
“In 15 minutes of free time, you can do five minutes of slow deep breathing, five minutes of meditating and five minutes of practicing feeling good. When you do any of these, you allow your energy to come back into alignment."
“Slowing down and being present with yourself supports you in being a better listener to yourself and others, as well."
She wrapped up her thoughts by saying, “If it's not about the destination, but rather the journey, then why not be sure to take some time out for yourself every day, so you can truly enjoy the time you have here on earth."

Make free time your time

While free time is free, you also need to own it. Make a plan for what to do with your free time. Get the most out of each and every day.
You can grow personally or professionally, develop a new skill or simply take a step back to evaluate the entirety of your circumstances. The power of free time is something you can harness if you put into practice some of the advice above.

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