6 Productive Ways to Spend Your Idle Time No matter how well scheduled your life, there is time between now and the next thing you can put to better use.

By Jacqueline Whitmore

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ryoko Uyama | Getty Images

Only the most productive among us see time as it really is: one of our most valuable assets. Perhaps you're one of the ones who recognize that time has a "limited offer" attached to it; after all, there are only 24 hours in a day. Therefore, you strive to make every single second count.

While downtime is vital for the preservation of our health, you cannot dismiss the fact that there are meaningful activities you can be involved in, even when resting. This takes multitasking to a whole new dimension.

Here are six things you can do in your idle time:

1. Record your goals.

To be successful at anything, you must first set clear goals of what you want to achieve. People who write down their goals are far more likely to achieve them than those who simply think about a goal, or those who have no goal at all.

This will also save you a lot of time in the future. If you use your spare time to clearly record your daily and long-term goals, it will eliminate other distractions and give you an objective to focus on. Hence, time that would otherwise be spent on mindless diversions will be converted into productive time.

As you complete your goals, cross them off your list to give you a greater feeling of accomplishment.

2. Listen to audio books.

Acquiring new knowledge never loses its value, and we should never really stop learning until we die. The increase in technology has made it convenient to acquire information and with a wide variety of audio books that can be borrowed from the library at no cost or downloaded with the click of a button, you can listen and learn while traveling, exercising, or even relaxing on the beach. It is a simple as having someone read a book for you, at your convenience.

Related: A Simple Tip That Will Enable You to 'Read' a Lot More Books

3. Learn another language.

As with audio books, technology has made it quite simple to learn a new language. Gone are the days when it was necessary to sit in a classroom. With CDs, downloads, and podcasts you can begin your journey to becoming bilingual (or multilingual). As an added bonus, knowledge of other languages will make you more marketable.

Related: These 5 Global Business Leaders Speak Multiple Languages. Should You?

4. Check up on your loved ones.

Because productive people are often very busy, they may find it difficult to find the time to spend with friends and family. As a matter of fact, it is easy for productive people to become so caught up in the goal of getting ahead that they can forget about their loved loves in the process. Although it may not be possible for you to spend all the time you want with your loved ones, using your idle time to touch base with them over the phone, or even in a handwritten note or card, will help bridge the gap.

5. Get moving.

No matter how busy you are, you need to exercise if you want to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Do some squats or lift hand weights while talking on the phone, or use your lunch break to walk around the neighborhood.

Related: 5 Companies Where You Can Exercise While Working

6. Give Back

Part of happiness comes from serving others, so instead of watching TV, help someone learn to read, serve dinner in a soup kitchen, or help an elderly person with their errands. These activities are not overly demanding of your time and provide a wealth of rewards.

Regardless of your workload, you are sure to have a few gaps here and there. Choose to spend your time wisely and make every second count.

Click to Enlarge

Ford Motor Company (Infographic)

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

Editor's Pick

Related Topics


Discover Your New Favorite Show or Movie with This App, Now $39.99 for Life

Think of this app as your very own, personalized guide to streaming film and TV.

Growing a Business

Serial Entrepreneur Turned VC Reveals 4 Numbers You Need to Know to Scale Your Company

If you're looking to attract investment or simply seeking to scale your business, there are four key numbers you should use as your guiding light.

Business News

McDonald's Is Making a Major Change to Its Burgers in 2024

The beloved Big Mac will also be getting a big makeover.

Thought Leaders

3 New Ways to Develop Laser-Like Focus

To boost focus in the face of distractions, you need a new approach to success.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2023

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2023.