The Daily Illini

Find time for free time

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Find time for free time

By Abby Weber, Columnist

For college students, it is incredibly easy to get wrapped up in doing the things you have to do and never getting to do the things you want to do. Having free time makes a person more productive and more happy, ultimately promoting personal growth and advancement for the institutions one is a part of.

Free time is as simple as anytime that does not have a scheduled commitment. What someone does with their free time is completely up to their own needs. Having this time to reflect upon what you need promotes overall mental well-being and can leave you less stressed when you do have tasks to complete.

Brandeis University published a study claiming that having time for leisure activities helps people to believe they are being more efficient with their time. Personally, I try to make sure I have at least one hour before work and two hours before bed to myself. With this time, I can nap, catch up on T.V. or see my friends, and overall, it has allowed me to enjoy my time in college and also be less stressed during classes.

Finding free time for many people can be difficult. As full-time students, many of us also work or are active community members, so it may seem that, from waking up to going to sleep, there is nothing but scheduled commitments. For a long time, I was also one of these people, until I started making a general plan at the beginning of the semester and then scheduling my entire week out every Sunday.

During syllabus week, it’s a good idea to write down all of your assignments in one place and then look for a general trend in due dates. For example, if you have a writing assignment due every Monday, then you can do it every preceding Thursday, leaving you a stress-free weekend.  

On Sunday nights, I usually write down when I have work, meetings and class. From there, I schedule in times for homework and working out, and then any left over time is free time. It’s also a good idea to look two weeks ahead, so if you have a particularly busy week, you can get ahead on assignments so you can still have some time to yourself.

It’s also important to not overload your schedule. It can often seem that, to do well in school and get a good job, you have to do as much as possible. In fact, a 2016 study by North-West University claimed that overloading on work results in burnout and ultimately, inefficiency. If you are so overwhelmed with class and activities, there will become a point in which doing well in these aspects are no longer possible. You only have a certain amount of time and energy, and if you start stretching yourself too thin, you won’t be able to live up to your potential anymore.

Personal growth can never happen if you are not spending any personal time. No matter how much studying, working and volunteering you do, unless you make time for personal reflection, exercise, relationships and rest, you will struggle finding things you are passionate about.

At the end of the day, finding time for free time will make your life more meaningful and help you to excel at your passions.

Abby is a sophomore in LAS.

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