As someone constantly on the go, I was intrigued by the title of Jenny Blake’s latest book, Free Time. In today’s fast-paced world, it seems like free time is a luxury that few of us can afford. I was curious to see what Blake had to say on the topic and whether her book could offer any valuable insights.
This book is a concise yet comprehensive guide to making the most of your working time and being efficient in creating free time. Blake’s approach is refreshingly practical, and she offers a wealth of tips and techniques that are easy to implement in your own life.
The book is divided into three main sections: “Understanding Free Time,” “Maximizing Free Time,” and “Creating Free Time.” Each section is further broken down into chapters focusing on specific topics such as time management, self-care, and leisure activities.
One key theme throughout the book is the importance of being intentional with your free time. Blake argues that we often waste our free time on mindless activities, such as social media or binge-watching TV shows. Instead, she encourages readers to use their free time to pursue meaningful and fulfilling activities.
Another critical theme in the book is that free time is not just a luxury but a necessity. Blake argues that taking time to recharge and pursue our interests is essential for our mental and physical well-being. She offers practical advice on making the most of your free time, even with a busy schedule. Of course, one aspect of this is that when you have created space, you will fill it with activities that service you. You will be able to choose. In my experience of mentoring others, I have seen layers of guilt appear when overlong to-do lists for business issues remain undone whilst time is spent on other pleasures. Here, I think the end of each chapter has a clever and compelling call to action. Firstly, giving us, the reader, permission to make the choice, and then the reminder to do (or delegate) elements of the work leaves us with the genuine space to make a much free-er choice.
One aspect of this is the systems that you create to support the elements of your day-to-day work. Those of you who have read my book – “Intentional Mastery,” will know the strategic importance that I put on having sound systems. This element resonated a lot. Jenny Blake champions the use of Notion as one of those tools and is the one that I also use (indeed, this review was drafted in Notion).
One of the things I appreciated about Free Time is Blake’s many practical tips and techniques. In particular, I found the short summaries at the end of each chapter compelling and well-structured. Focusing on what to do and reminding us to give ourselves permission to do it, both realistically and practically, was mastery. Here are just a few of my favourites:
- Create a “Free Time Wishlist” – Make a list of all the things you would like to do in your free time, whether it’s learning a new language, taking a cooking class, or simply reading a book. Having a list of ideas will make using your free time productively easier.
- Set boundaries around your free time – It’s essential to protect your free time and make it a priority. Blake suggests setting clear boundaries around your free time, such as not checking work emails or taking phone calls during certain hours.
- Use technology to your advantage – While technology can be a significant source of distraction, it can also be a valuable tool for making the most of your free time. Blake offers suggestions for apps and websites that can help you learn new skills, create good processes, and share information effectively.
Overall, I found Free Time an insightful and practical guide to maximising your time. Blake’s writing style is engaging and accessible, and her advice is backed up by research and personal experience.
If you want to be more intentional with your time and improve your overall well-being, I highly recommend giving Free Time a read. It’s a book that has the potential to make a real difference in your life.