It's our excuse for everything: I'd love to, but I don't have the time. I know we're jam packed with errands, schedules, planner boxes, and to-do lists, but if you really want to do something, there's always a way. That's why you can have a hobby when you don't have the time — the reality is, you actually do. Have you ever wanted to learn how to properly cook, or figure out how to make a three layer cake? Maybe you've always dreamed of being a cyclist, but never had the time to indulge your 10-speed. Have you dreamed of knitting yourself a big infinity scarf come winter, or speaking fluent Spanish next time you take your next vacation on the beach? Maybe you just want to become a beginner yogi, or start scrap booking old vacation pictures. All of these are amazing ideas, but chances are they'd be great to indulge in if you actually had the space in your schedule.
The thing is, you totally do! Just think of all the times you spent a weekend watching bad TV or evenings spent running errands or trying to accomplish impossibly long to-do lists. With a little bit of strategic planning and shifting, anything is possible. Below are seven ways you can have a hobby with a busy schedule.
1. See Where You're Wasting Time
None of us are 100 percent productive all day every day. We spend a lot of time scrolling through Instagram,falling into Netflix black holes, and idly window shopping among other things. See what parts of your days you fall into that I-want-to-be-lazy slump and try to fit your hobby in during that downswing.
Lifestyle writer Sarah White from Lifehack agreed, "If you’re adding a new thing into your life, you have to take time and focus away from something else. The good news is that most of us have a lot of time we’re not using well, either because we’re spending a lot of time online or watching TV or just wasting time we could be spending on our hobbies." So put the phone down and take those 30 minutes for your new hobby!
2. See If You Can Double Task It With Other Activities
If you really feel like you don't have time to add one more thing into your schedule, see if you can lump it together with another activity. White suggested, "Maybe you really like hanging out with friends, so you need to take a class or have an interest that you can do with a group. If you travel a lot, something portable or that you can do anywhere is helpful; if you’re a homebody you might love to be surrounded by a cool collection."
If you want to learn more about your favorite drinks or cocktails, try suggesting a wine tasting class or brewery tour with your friends, knocking out your pal-time along with your hobby-time. If you feel like you need that unwinding time with a good romcom on Netflix, then try making your hobby something you can do at home while in front of the TV, like learning how to crochet or repurposing vintage. Or if photography is your choice, take out your camera as you make your way to work. Lump activities together and you magically have more time!
3. Change The Way You Schedule Things
Think of it this way: Do you really need to be so jam packed with tasks, errands, and responsibilities every day? Sure, there are the things that you absolutely have to do that Wednesday or Thursday (like, say, showing up at the office,) but the laundry list of other projects we assign ourselves that day are completely up to us. If you want to make a new hobby part of your busy routine, change the way you create your schedule.
Lifestyle writer Leo Babauta from lifestyle site Zen Habits recommended, "When you make out your daily to-do list, just list the three Most Important Tasks you want to accomplish today." Rather than piling up a huge list of tasks per day, just create three main goals per day, and leave some room for your hobby.
4. Work Them Into Your Mornings
You might not want to wake up first thing every morning and practice your French or take out your sketch book, but if you really want a new passion hobby but find it hard to carve out the time, just wake up an hour earlier a couple times a week and let yourself indulge in it as you sip on coffee and nibble on muffins, letting your day start on a creative note. Why the morning and not the evening?
Babauta explained, "Mornings are great because your day hasn’t been filled with a bunch of unscheduled, demanding, last-minute tasks that will push back those Essentials. For example, if you schedule something for late afternoon, by the time late afternoon rolls around, you might have a dozen other things newly added to your to-do list." Don't give yourself the chance to take your hobby off the table: Do it in the morning, where your schedule is free.
5. Make Your In-Between-Time Work For You
Do you take a lengthy train ride into work every morning? Do you have an hour break for lunch? Is your friend usually late to dinner? Take that open in between time to wedge in your hobby. Babauta pointed out, "Some people like to exercise, or to take quiet times, during their lunch breaks. Others use this time to work on an important personal goal or project."
If you're doing a reading list, you can easily bring a book along on your commute. If you're learning to paint, bring a sketch book along while you wait for the bus to arrive. If you're learning how to cook, read cooking blogs on your phone or thumb through a cookbook or something that'll inspire you to get in the mood to jump into the kitchen when you get back home. Use your in-between time to get inspired or expand your hobby.
6. Turn Off The Screens
Let's state the obvious here: Screens take up a ton of our time. Whether it's marathon watching Downton Abbey, falling into an hour long texting conversation with your friend, or answering clients' emails, before you know it hours have passed and you missed the opportunity to work on yourself. So make a commitemnt a couple times a week to turn off screens.
Career development site The Muse recommended, "Carve out some time on the weekends — at least a few hours, but ideally a whole day — to stay away from screens. Put your computer and phone away and turn off the TV, then do something physical or creative that you really love." To make sure you don't skimp on it, schedule it right into your planner. Remember, this takes commitment!
7. Commit To Short Bursts Of Hobby-ing
While it'd be nice to be able to go to a full yoga class a couple times a week, or go hiking for a full Sunday, sometimes that's just not possible. Instead of setting the standard to hobby at max, allow yourself to indulge in it in short bursts. Alexandra Cavoulacos, founder of The Muse, offered, "I'd rather have a nice long dinner with a friend if I can, but during a busy week, catching a 45-minute coffee during the day is better than not seeing friends at all. I love biking, but it requires more time than I have most weeks, so I've picked up running (reluctantly), since I can do it when I just have 20 minutes." So instead of going to a yoga class, try doing a video in your living room. Or try doing the rock climbing wall at the gym instead of driving out to the trails. Little burst still count!
When it comes down to it, all of us have a little more free time than we probably realize, so we might as well make the very most of it.