It’s sometimes just too tempting to spend your free time playing games on your smartphone, or hanging out with your friends. That’s fun, for sure, but spending your time more constructively will provide you with more benefits in the long term.

There’s really no excuse for saying, “I’m bored out of my mind,” given the many fun activities you can try. Choose any of the following activities and make the most out of your free time!

Read a good novel, or a self-development book

Reading should be your go-to habit when you have free time on your hands. Reading expands your knowledge and keeps you up to date with new developments in your career. Not to mention that the news and knowledge you gain will make you an interesting person at parties and social gatherings!

Utilize your free time for learning. It will help you professionally and personally. Create a free-time reading list and go back to it each time you have a few hours to kill.

Keep your mind, knowledge, and memory sharp with a self-development book or biography, if fiction is not your cup of tea, and you’ll get two benefits in one.

Write/Blog/Live Tweet

If you think you’re as a good a writer as Shakespeare, why not make your own attempts at it?

Even if you don’t, writing is an excellent way to spend some time. It doesn’t have to be anything formal you will submit to a publishing house. Do it for fun, do it to sharpen your writing skills, and nurture your creativity!

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Try guest blogging on anything you’re passionate and knowledgeable about — from Star Trek to the Kawaii Japanese culture. Live tweet a special TV or sports event or blog to get those thoughts and feelings out of your system and into the wider world.

Learn a new language

You’ve probably heard this tip a thousand times, but being bilingual offers many cognitive, social, and professional benefits. It’s a shame not to even try it at least!

Just think of all the French movies you will get to enjoy without having to read the subtitles.

Take a course

You know how you always thought you were destined to be a philosopher? Even if your degree says MBA, you can always go nurture your passion for philosophy by enrolling in a free academic class. Look for one of the courses offered by many high-profile universities including Harvard, MIT, Yale, and more.

Sharpen your brain and memory

Brain games are notorious for being addictive, just like other games, but these have a point. Get hooked on a brain game by choosing any game from a great online resource such as Lumosity.com and Fitbrains.com by Rosetta Stone. There are also various app-based ones like 92 Logic Games and Left Vs Right.

Cooking

Many people find cooking a creative, stress-releasing activity. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a novice who is just starting to experiment with new foods, cooking can be an exhilarating experience.

Try to see cooking as a stress-relieving activity instead of something you have to do every day. Take the opportunity to recreate some childhood classics – it might not be exactly like your mum’s lasagna, but just picture the satisfaction you’ll feel when you put that first mouthwatering cheese-dripping bite in your mouth.

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Star-gazing and astronomy

Feed your existential preoccupations and romantic side with star-gazing. Name a star via an online service for that special someone in your life or subscribe to NASA’s newsletter and prestigious magazines like the Sky and Telescope and All About Space magazines to become an astronomy buff.

Volunteer

Share your time, skills. and knowledge with people who need it. Check volunteering opportunities at your campus, school, or community and you will find one you will be able to contribute through.

The possibilities for projects and learning are limitless. Make an annual list of things, skills, and activities you want to accomplish and make sure you check one after the other each time you have free time to spare.

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