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7 ways to spend your time wisely when unemployed

One of the most dreadful thing about  unemployment is the large span of free time we have on our hand. Many simply sleep away so that they do not have to think of ways to spend away those miserable empty hours.
I remembered sleeping till around 9 or even 10am initially when I was unemployed as I did not want to face the reality of living  yet another aimless day.
BOREDOM also haunted me for a long period  while I was jobless.
Lets face it – having too much time is not a good thing if we do not  know what to do with it. When we are  working, we wish that we have more time to do  our perosnal stuff and some even take medical leave so that they can rest or take a day off from  work.
The internet remained my daily solace and time waster for many months and I think this is the case for many who are unemployed out there. This not only inflates our internet/electrical  billing but also isolates us from the rest of the world.
 I became very isolated for a few months even from my family until I decided to change my daily schedule and strategy:-
1. Start to  pack your house
I began  to tidy up my house and literally put it into order as I took out old mail and started to remove those old clothes as well. I realised that we  have accummulated alot of rubbish in our wardrobe and cupboards.
I   managed to sell some second-hand stuff to  Cash Convertors and raised a few hundred dollars in the process!
Soon, I took to doing house work like vacuuming and laundry more to kill those free time than anything else. However, the routine became a habit now and I cleaned the tiolets weekly and regualrly wash the dishes after dinner.
A reader in transition told me that he took a month to do up his house after been laid off. He knocked nails on to loosened door planks and tidy up his garden. He found the experience very theraupetic as he was doing something useful with his free time.
So, take some time to repack your house if you feel bored.
Re-paint your home if the house looks jaded. Who knows, with a fresh coat of paint, you and your house will look fresher!
Time spent: as often as you need
Result: Satisfying
2.  Going for lunch with my mum
I  decided to lunch with my mum weekly as she came over every weekend to stay with my family. It was at first difficult to schedule  lunch with my mum as I did not do that for many decades! We did not talk much initially  during lunch but the experience was delightful as the time spent together cemented our relationship immensely. I wonder how many here have  ever bring their mother out for meals regularly besides the annual Mother’s Day event?
I  performed this weekly routine for many years till she had stroke two years ago.  I missed those weekly lunch sessions with my mum still but at least I have done it for the past five years. No regrets there…
Time spent: once a week for many years
Result: very satisfying
3. Learn something new
I have managed to learn alot of stuff from the internet. It is a huge rich resource  for new information. For example, after a friend helped me to set up the support  website for the jobless, I learned much more from meddling around on my own. There is so much more to learn when you decide to mess around on your own through trial and error.
I now have three support websites though the one supporting the jobless has taken off  better than the other two – www.dontcyberbully.com  (support site for the cyberbullied) and www.steadymarriages.com (support site for the divorced)
Many have also learn how to earn money from selling stuff on ebay and using paypal as a payment engine. A friend I knew make thousands of dollars on the internet selling antique wrist watches online. He would bid for the watches and resell them online for a small profit. The best part of it all is that he is still a young varsity student!
So, go on a free learning experience on the internet. Use it to learn something new every month. Learn to set up your own blogsite using blogspot.com or wordpress. Who knows, you can even earn some money  from google ads if your site becomes very popular!
Time spent: daily
Result: Satisfying
4. Volunteering
I have long being an advocate of volunteerism. It is not only theraupetic but also take those negative thoughts out of our mind.
The volunteer gets to see that  there are many others who are worse off than us. I used to work in the Society for The Physically Disabled (SPD) and every week volunteers would join us to help in our disability programmes.
Many are regulars and some even took leave to spend some time with the centre. When asked why do they volunteer rain or shine, their reply is always the same: “I find that after volunteering, my soul is blessed and I left the place a happier person.”
I have also volunteered for a welfare organisation here in Sydney and recently cleared their work  trial. I will be  starting work as a casual worker with the organisation.
Besides having employment opportunities when you volunteer, more importantly, you will feel that you have utilise those  free time wisely.
Volunteering is also  one sure way of boosting your bruised self esteem as you spend time helping out those who are  less fortunate.
Time  spent: once a fortnight
Result: very satisfying
5. Keep a journal
With so much free time available, it is good for someone in transition to keep a journal.
I used to write alot when I was unemployed -  often to vet out my frustrations. I found that writing  is very theraupetic for me. I found that my burden is somewhat lifted when I write. It is akin to talking about my problems to a counsellor.
Some of my writings eventually got printed on the newspapers and I have since  contributed regularly to our papers  since 2001. As many as one hundred letters were published  since then.
 In fact, most of  the writings I did on my journal  have appeared in my recent book “How to survive unemployment”.
So do take up a journal and pen your innermost thoughts on it. You never know that a publisher may be keen to explore it as a book project!
Time spent: daily
Result: very satisfying
6.  Take up a new hobby
Many others in transition I knew have taken up a new hobby. They could not take it up when they are busy working and there is also  simply not enough time left after work to do so. Now, with much time on hand, many have explore territories that they have not do so before and with good effect.
A friend of mine took up fishing  after been laid off and would go for his new hobby thrice a week. He told me that it was the best time of his life as he had a good severance package and could slow down his lifestyle.
Personally, I took up running more to destress when I was unemployed and have since ran in several marathons.
I continued my thrice-weekly running bouts till today. It is not only good for my health but also an effective destressor.
So,  take up something that you have yearn for all along. When you return to work, you may not have any time or energy left to pursue that dream hobby of yours.
Time  spent: thrice a week
Result: very satisfying
7.  Take time out to think and reflect
Many Singaporeans  have little time to think and reflect when we are gainfully employed. After graduating, we  rushed off to work and later get married, have kids and soon we grow old.
When we retire, many  regret the many things we like to do but  have put off due to our busyness. Life simply rushes us by.
In fact, for some, being lay off may be the best thing that could happen to you.
Now, you have the time to think and  reflect on  your life’s priorities and goals.
Are you just going to be a person best known for being  an excellent worker? Will there be any  regrets when you retire?
How will your children best remember you for – an absent father who only knows how to buy gifts while toiling away in the office or someone who spends time with his kids?
What  is the kind of legacy that you want your friends  to remember you for?
A church friend I knew just passed away this week in Sydney from cancer. He is only 45 years old. However, he left behind a legacy of cheerfulness and joy that I will always remember him for.
Whenever we visited him either at his home or the hospital, he never lamented or complained once about his chronic condition.  He always smiled and laughed even when he spoke about his illness as the world collapsed around him.
We were amazed at his optimism even as the cancerous  cells ravaged his limp body.
For me, he taught me a lesson about not whining but fighting on despite the adverse  circumstances.
Time spent: as often as possible
Result: long lasting legacy
I hope that I have leave you with enough tips  to spend those awful large amount  of time you have while you look for work.
Always remember that time once passed   can never be returned.  Use it wisely in whatever situation you are in right now.


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