Seize Your Free Time With A ‘Sudden Opportunity List’

Seize Your Free Time With A ‘Sudden Opportunity List’

Perhaps you’ve been going, going, going and it feels as though you haven’t had a break in weeks. Or months? Who knows? And then, out of nowhere, it hits you. A random pocket of time.

Maybe a neighbour offers to take your kids to see a movie this afternoon or your morning appointment got cancelled or your boss decides to close shop early today. At first, you’re thrilled! But then you’re disoriented. What are you going to do with this unexpected freedom?

You start feeling jittery. And then you start Googling. Best spas near me. Netflix series to start binge-watching. All the hikes you can do in 30 minutes or less. You’re so wrapped up in making a decision that before you know it, aw crap — your break is over.

Next time, you need a Sudden Opportunity List. This is an idea I first read about in Time to Parent, a book by organisation consultant Julie Morgenstern. You write out a short menu of enjoyable activities that you rarely get around to doing, and then when you’re suddenly granted a stretch of free time (it could happen!), you pull out the list and go.

It can help to organise your list by amounts of time. What would you love to do if you had 15 minutes to yourself? How about half an hour? Or two hours? Or half a day? (OK, now we’re dreaming a little.)

To take out any guesswork when it’s game time, you should be as specific as possible. Instead of “go shopping”, write down that exact vintage record store you’ve been meaning to check out. Instead of “self-care”, put down that one shiatsu massage place that accepts walk-ins.

The point is to be ready. Because when the time is all yours, you don’t want to waste it.

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