14 Effective Ways To Make Time for Hobbies (Even When Busy)

How to Find Time for Hobbies

Many people who struggle to start or keep hobbies often complain that they can’t find time for hobbies. If you have a full-time job, are studying in college, or have kids you are caring for, hobbies will take a back seat.

For a long time, I marveled at how people could juggle parenthood with demanding jobs (or school) and still find time for multiple hobbies they seem to enjoy.

However, I discovered that by implementing a few simple strategies, you can have multiple hobbies even if you are busy.

In this article, I will discuss the most effective of these strategies. They have allowed me to have multiple hobbies without feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. Currently, I have over ten hobbies that I do regularly and several others that revolve in and out of my life.

Here are the 14 strategies you can use to find time for your hobbies

1. Understand The Importance of Hobbies In Your Life

You will find it hard to make time for a hobby unless you understand its role in your life. Hobbies have many benefits. Besides being fun, hobbies can open you to new experiences and help you have a balanced, well-rounded life.

Here are some reasons why I think hobbies are important.

  • Hobbies can expand your world. When I had no hobbies, I felt that there was nothing interesting to do. But I found that the more curious you become about something, the more interesting it becomes.
  • Hobbies push you toward who you want to become. Who do you dream of becoming? For example, if you see yourself as a globe-trotting traveler speaking multiple languages, then travel and learning languages will be a priority in your life.
  • Hobbies give you useful skills. Skills can help you get a better career, start a business, and contribute to society. Find a useful skill you would like to have and turn it into a hobby.

Hobbies have many other benefits (see Why You Should Have a Hobby). Make your own list of what you want to get from hobbies and come back to this list whenever you are tempted to remove hobbies from your schedule.

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2. Audit How You Spend Your Time

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested.”- Seneca

Spend a week tracking how you spend your time hour by hour. Auditing your time helps you to identify activities you can reduce or eliminate.

You will be surprised at home much time you waste on trivial things. Some areas that you can reduce or eliminate include:

  1. TV time. Do you need to spend 3-4 hours watching TV? You don’t have to live your life in a fantasy that someone else has created.
  2. Social media. Mindlessly scrolling through social media wastes your time and can be terrible for your mental health.
  3. Gossip. Are you always on the phone talking about others? You have to ask yourself if your chitchat adds value to your life.

Tracking your time doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be as simple as keeping a diary. For me, I like to take 30 minutes every day to record my activities and do journaling. This way, I can tell whether I am putting in the right amount of effort in the things that matter to me.

3. Prioritize Your Hobbies and Interests

Hell yeah or no. Spend time doing/working/being things you love and are passionate about. If it doesn’t excite you, and you don’t have to do it, say no”.Derek Sivers

You probably have many activities, hobbies, and interests vying for attention. But you can’t do them all. This is especially true if you are juggling other responsibilities like kids, a job, or school.

You can create a lot of time by cutting off some activities so you can concentrate on those that give you the most value.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself.

  • What hobbies bring you the most joy? Look for something that puts you into a state of flow. If you don’t enjoy something, you will find it difficult to motivate yourself to do it.
  • What hobby fills a need in you? For example, if you are out of shape, you should prioritize hobbies that will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you are in college, you want hobbies that will make it easier to get a job when you graduate (see Best Hobbies for a Resume).
  • Who do you want to become? You eventually become what you habitually do. Choose hobbies that help you to become the ideal version of yourself.

I use my journaling sessions to examine and re-examine my priorities in life and how the various activities fit into my overall goals. I find that if I leave things to chance, I tend to drift towards things that trap me in a reality that I don’t want.

4. Schedule And Block Time for Hobbies

If something is worth doing, it should be on your schedule.”

Your most important hobbies should be on your schedule. If you don’t have a schedule create one.

A schedule guides you on how you will make use of your day. Without a schedule, you will find it hard to make time for important tasks, because you will be interrupted by urgent but trivial tasks.

Once you have a schedule, you should block the time you need for your hobby and guard it jealously.

Here are examples of hobbies that should be on your schedule:

  • Your most important hobbies. For example, hobbies that involve spending time with family or significant others. It may seem weird to schedule such activities, but we often neglect the most meaningful things in our lives.
  • Hobbies that require skill and learning. For example, coding, playing the guitar, or learning a language. You can not rely on motivation when dealing with these types of hobbies because they tend to be difficult, and it’s tempting to put them off.
  • Hobbies that you want to turn into a habit. For example, exercising, reading, and cooking. These hobbies can bring significant changes into your life if done regularly.

Some of the hobbies that I block time for every day include blogging (2 hours), walking (30 minutes to 1 hour), journaling (30 minutes), and watching TV/Movies/YouTube with my family (1-2 hours in the evening). I plan to add coding to my schedule in the future. With many other hobbies, I tend to go with the flow.

5. Make Efficient Use of Time

Creating time is just half of the battle. You have to use the time you have created wisely.

You want to avoid a situation where you have set aside an hour for your hobby but end up using only 20 minutes productively. This can leave you feeling like you are stagnating and demotivated.

There are several ways you can make efficient use of your time for hobbies:

  • Make it a habit. When you turn your hobby into a habit, you don’t have to waste time wondering whether to do it or not. Time spent procrastinating and debating with yourself is wasted time. Also, ensure that you have prepared everything in advance so you are ready to go when the time comes.
  • Remove distractions and temptations. Look for a place where you will not be disturbed and put your phone in airplane mode. If you have kids, ensure they know that this is your special time.
  • Learn to do things quicker. For example, if you take two hours to type your blog post, you can significantly reduce this time by learning to touch type. Take classes for skills that you feel are a bottleneck to your productivity.

I have used these three strategies in my blogging hobby, and they have been effective in helping me write higher-quality blog posts much faster.

For more, check out my article on Useful Hobbies That Will Make You Insanely Productive.

6. Get Help

Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful”.Ric Ocasek

A big reason why you have no time is because you are trying to do everything by yourself. If you are busy, finding time for hobbies will be almost impossible.

This is especially true when you get a baby or start a new job. It can be overwhelming trying to juggle everything by yourself.

You can get others to help you with your chores so you can create time to fit in a few things that you care about (or find time to rest).

Some of the ways you can get help include:

  • Negotiate with friends, family, and co-workers. You can get your friends and family to help you with tasks like babysitting, cleaning, or work-related tasks. The key to negotiation is to offer something compelling in return. This requires some creativity on your part.
  • Pay others to do it. Spare some money to pay someone to do your chores. For example, the kid next door might mow the lawn for you at a good price. You can free up money on your budget by auditing your lifestyle and implementing cost-cutting measures.
  • Automate and batch your work. Whenever you can, automate your work by taking advantage of systems that are already in place. For example, you can order your groceries online and have them delivered to you instead of going shopping yourself.

For me, I try to do most of my shopping online. If I have to go out and shop, I batch all my shopping and combine it with other errands I have to run. I also pay for any large cleaning chores.

7. Multi-Task

A great way to have multiple hobbies is to do two or more activities concurrently. This works best if you have a passive activity (e.g. listening to music) and an active one (e.g. drawing).

You can experiment with different hobbies and activities until you find a combination that works well. Here are a few examples of how you can use this strategy.

  • Combine hobbies with chores. For example, you can listen to a podcast or learn a language while cleaning, cooking, or ironing.
  • Combine hobbies with other hobbies. For example, you can listen to music or audiobooks as you knit or paint.
  • Combine hobbies with personal tasks. You can combine personal tasks (such as eating, showering, and dressing) with hobbies like singing or practicing public speaking.

I used to love reading when I was younger, but nowadays I hardly find the time to do it. I have switched to audiobooks because I can listen to them while doing my chores or driving. I use Audible for audiobooks.

8. Make Use of Small Chunks of Time

In the universe, great acts are made up of small deeds. The sage does not attempt anything very big, and thus achieves greatness”.Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

You can use small chunks of time to engage in your hobbies. The accumulated effect of these small chunks can be huge.

In his book the First 20 Hours, Josh Kaufman estimates that it takes roughly 20 hours of deliberate practice to develop a skill to a level usable for a particular purpose.

If, for example, you spend 10 minutes every day learning French, within a year, you will have accumulated about 60 hours of deliberate practice. This is sufficient to help you find your way in a French-speaking country.

Here are examples of how you can carve out small chunks of time for your hobbies.

  • Commuting time. You can use the time spent on the subway or driving to learn to do something. It works best if you take public transportation or if you carpool.
  • Tea and lunch breaks at work or school. These breaks can give you anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour to do what you want.
  • Waiting time. You can use the time you spend waiting for lectures to start or for the dentist to see you.

I am currently using this strategy to learn French (using the Duolingo app on my smartphone), and I try to spare at least 15-20 minutes to learn every day.

9. Turn Your Chores and Responsibilities Into Hobbies

Some tasks and responsibilities are part of your daily life, and you cannot avoid them. You can turn such tasks into hobbies by shifting your attitude towards them.

The advantage of this approach is that you will enjoy these tasks more, and over time you will become better at them.

Some of the tasks you can easily into hobbies include:

  • Cooking. Cooking is a highly creative activity if you put effort into it. For example, you can challenge yourself to make restaurant-quality meals at home. This will save you money that you would have spent going out, and you will bring joy to your friends and family.
  • Cleaning the car. You can turn this chore into a car detailing hobby by challenging yourself to have a pristine-looking car. If you combine this hobby with a car repair hobby, you don’t have to change cars as often, and your car will have a higher resale value.
  • Taking care of your yard. You can turn this chore into a landscaping hobby. Improving your backyard can increase the usable space and value of your house.

One of the chores that I am turning into a hobby is cooking. I’m currently learning to make delicious ice cream at home (I don’t know if that counts as cooking!).

10. Incorporate Hobbies Into Your Job

Your job can be a great source of hobbies. There are probably tasks at work that you enjoy more than others. Why not turn them into hobbies? Look for ways to incorporate hobbies into your job or turn everyday tasks at work into hobbies.

A job is like a school where you get paid to learn. The skills you get from your job can open all kinds of doors, for example:

  • You can shift to higher-paying careers within your organization.
  • You can start a side hustle where you offer freelance services or consulting.

Here are examples of work skills and activities that make great hobbies.

  • Graphics Design. Graphic design is an essential skill to have at work. You can use it to take your work to another level. For example, you can help design posters, presentations, websites, infographics, or report covers at work.
  • Travel. If your job involves a lot of travel, you can use that opportunity to engage in hobbies like travel blogging, photography, or learning new languages.
  • Public speaking. Instead of dreading your weekly presentation, why not learn to become better at it? Read books on how to communicate effectively and then use your weekly presentation as a practice session.

In my work, I frequently write many reports, and I had to learn graphic design to make covers, charts, graphs, and infographics that stand out. I also taught myself web design to make my blog look attractive and easy to use.

For more on hobbies that can make a difference in your career, see: The Best Hobbies for a Resume.

11. Choose a Set of Complementary Hobbies

Some hobbies go well with others and can be combined with minimal effort. If you want to have multiple hobbies, you should consider choosing these complementary hobbies whenever possible.

Examples of hobbies that go well with others include:

  • Camping. If you love camping, you can easily incorporate hobbies like RV Travel, star gazing, hiking, outdoor survival, hammocking, orienteering, and bird watching.
  • Blogging. If you enjoy blogging, there are certain hobbies that you will need to incorporate into blogging for you to be successful. These include graphic design, web design, editing, copywriting, SEO, typing, and online marketing.
  • Homesteading. If you plan to be a homesteader, you will need additional hobbies like gardening, sewing, canning, animal husbandry, carpentry, and woodworking.

Bird watching is a big hobby of mine for many reasons (see Why Birding Is The Ultimate Hobby). It has made me pick up additional hobbies like bird photography, bird sound recording, bird banding, camping, and tree identification. I also travel a lot to do birding and I am considering starting a birding blog.

12. Turn a Hobby Into a Side-Hustle

When money is tight, it can be hard to justify spending time on hobbies instead of getting a second job or working overtime so that you can make more money.

So why not kill two birds with one stone and turn one of your hobbies into a side hustle?

You can easily turn several hobbies into side hustles. Here are a few that are great for beginners.

  • Blogging. You can blog for one or two hours a day before your go to work or after you come back. And you can blog about things that you are passionate about. For example, you can blog about food if you are into cooking. There are plenty of examples of people making good money by blogging about their interests (see The Highest-Earning Bloggers).
  • Fitness. If you enjoy working out, you can offer your services as a personal trainer. Many people want to get in shape but don’t know which exercises to do or which diets to follow.
  • Pets. If you enjoy working with pets, you can have a side hustle as a dog walker or a cat sitter. Some people make good money doing it.

I started blogging a few years ago as a creative outlet and means to make some extra income. This has brought a lot of joy and meaning into my life, and once I reach my target income, I plan to go into blogging full-time.

For now, I am focusing on enjoying creating articles that can help my readers find what they love to do. If you are interested in getting into blogging, the following articles will help you out:

13. Combine Hobbies with Socializing

Hobbies can take away a huge chunk of time you would have otherwise used to socialize. This is especially true if most of your hobbies are solo hobbies like coding, writing, or design. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

However, you can counter this by integrating hobbies into your social time. By doing this, you can make your hobbies more fun and create time to do other things.

Here are examples of how to integrate your hobbies and socializing activities.

  • Join a group. If you enjoy music, you can join a band or a choir. If you love books, you can join a book club. Besides being fun, joining a group makes you accountable to other people, and this increases your chances of sticking with a hobby.
  • Piggyback on your friends’ hobbies. If you find someone with a unique hobby, ask them if you can join them. Many people are happy to have company. As a bonus, you can get free training and equipment.
  • Look for opportunities to do things with others. For example, you can walk with a friend after work or play a team sport like basketball or soccer. If you are learning a foreign language, you can take an in-person class.

When I wanted to learn first aid, I did an in-person class in my area instead of going online. I met many interesting people, and it was a lot of fun.

Sometimes it can be hard to get an in-person class. If you struggle with this, get an online course with a community membership or a Facebook group.

14. Make Use of Seasonal Hobbies

There are hobbies you can only do at particular times because of limitations that prevent you from engaging in the hobbies more often.

Here are circumstances that could limit your ability to do certain hobbies.

  • The weather. Some hobbies are best done in summer, while others are good for winter. Take advantage of the seasons to schedule weather-appropriate hobbies.
  • Time off from work. Some hobbies can only be done when you have a good chunk of time off. For example, you may only be able to take your fishing trip during your annual vacation because there are no great fishing areas near where you live.
  • Friends and family schedules. There are hobbies that you used to do a lot of when you were still living at home. Now that you have left home, you can only do them twice or thrice a year (for example, when visiting your parents or childhood buddies).

Embrace these limitations and schedule your hobbies to take advantage of the limitations. For example, I only do snorkeling once or twice a year because I live far from the coast. Whenever I visit the coast, I try to schedule some snorkeling.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, you have found a few strategies that you can add to your bag of tricks. As you can see, you can fit many hobbies into your lifestyle if you want to.

The main question you have to ask yourself is, do you want that many hobbies? For me, I did not intend to have many hobbies, but whenever I followed my curiosity, I ended up with a few more.

Of course, I abandon many hobbies as well. The main thing I consider when picking hobbies is that they should bring some value into my life.

Hobbies are not a chore. If a hobby starts to feel like a chore, re-examine why you picked it up in the first place. This can help you re-discover your motivation.

Good luck in your hobby journey!

Further reading

If you are struggling to find or keep a hobby, check out the following articles.