Free Time Doesn’t Mean You’re Lazy

For someone who likes to keep busy, work is a vicious cycle. You continuously think about getting off work while you’re there, and yet once you get a taste of freedom (and maybe even boredom), you feel like you might as well be at work and/or doing something productive. If this is you, let my story spare you the struggle of figuring out that this way of thinking is flawed.

Last May, my workload and responsibilities exploded. I was already working two jobs as a front-of-the-house employee at Noodles and Company and a leasing consultant at my apartment complex; however, that May I was promoted to a management shift leader position at Noodles, and my role as a leasing consultant swelled alongside the summer heat. My life became a rotation of waking up, working out, working in the office, working at Noodles, and going to sleep all while trying to be a good wife. 50+ hours a week wasn’t uncommon. This crazy schedule continued on into the school year, and I managed to fit homework and classes into my routine in an almost unbelievable way now that I look back at it. My grades were great, and both jobs applauded my work, so why would I feel the need to change? While it may sound like I’m complaining, it’s really quite the opposite. At the time, I thought I loved my way of life. I was making good money, never had the chance to be bored, and I didn’t have to pay attention to my thoughts. Most importantly, I thought that I was succeeding in not wasting any time. To me free time implied laziness and unfulfilled potential.

As I have mentioned in a previous post on perspective, my trip to Ireland over spring break sparked a fire in me to quit my job at Noodles and Company. When I clocked out for the last time, my whole world shifted. I suddenly had at least 20 more hours a week to spend doing… I didn’t really know what. Now almost two months later, I can say that quitting was one of the best decisions I have made for myself so far. I would be lying if I claimed that there were no evenings spent staring at the wall wondering what my past co-workers were encountering or the occasional tears, but I am stronger now that I’ve pushed through it. Since then, I have had more self-discovery than ever before. I now have the time to experiment with what brings me happiness and learn about who I am as a person. Without it, I wouldn’t be writing this blog, have as much progress with my fitness training, or have the positive state of mind that I do.

I caution everyone not to become a robot that simply executes daily activities. I’m not recommending that you should go out and immediately quit your job, especially if you find joy in and are passionate about what you do. Instead, I believe it is important to find a balance between actively engaging in your routine and finding time for yourself.

Free time is not wasted potential. Rather, free time is the opportunity for potential. There is only one you in this world, so give the world a chance to know you. Harness your free time and explore. 

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