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Mapping Out Your Pockets of Time

By Sarah Ungerer

What’s your favorite way to relax? Perhaps you’re a coffee drinker who loves to sit by the largest window of a cafe and read a good book. Maybe you like to turn on your Nintendo Switch and race your way to first place on Mario Kart. Or, like most people, it’s possible that you’re a fan of sitting back and relaxing in front of a television that’s playing one of the best shows of all time. Brooklyn-99, anyone? WandaVision?

No matter what the case may be, this downtime is so crucial to your health and well-being. Your life should never have to become entirely work- and school-oriented. Breaks are beneficial!

Truthfully, however, our schedules can get alarmingly filled up pretty easily. As naturally social beings with high expectations weighing down on our shoulders, the areas in our life that we have to pay attention to only seem to keep expanding as we grow older. School, work, household chores, family, and relationships are just a few of the many commitments that can make our daily agendas tricky. So in these moments where we’re finding minimal time in our day to be alone with entertainment available for our eyes to engage with, what are the options that we have access to?

Well, it’s time to find out! But first of all, grab a pair of headphones…

Going from one place to another requires time. If you have a jam-packed day coming up, you’ll find yourself seeing time between plans which is meant for commuting from one place to the next. Students–think about your classes. After your AP Psychology course wraps up, you might have ten minutes to walk across campus to reach the science building. On the weekends, let’s say that you wake up early for basketball practice at your school’s gymnasium. Driving from your house to school takes approximately 15 minutes.

Let’s also take a look at your (hypothetical) list of chores for the week. What do you have to accomplish? You need to fold clothes, vacuum the house, tidy up the bathroom, wash the dishes, and take your dog Barry on a walk. These are all tasks that surely require time and effort, but they don’t demand much brainpower.

Here’s where those headphones come in!

Whether it’s the minutes you spend traveling to your next class or those household responsibilities that you routinely and swiftly move through, surprise! You’ve found pockets of time to mix some entertainment into your busy day. So get your headphones connected to your favorite device and get ready to M.A.P. out how to spend this time by listening to Music, Audiobooks, and/or Podcasts!

Listening to music is scientifically proven to be therapeutic. It’s a great way to elevate your mood, too. Whenever I find myself in the backseat of my parents’ car after a long day or am walking alone to my next class during a passing period, I always press play on my favorite playlist–a self-made compilation of my favorite songs. This is a great way to get some groovy entertainment tossed into a seemingly tight schedule. Not to mention, creating a playlist of your greatest hits beforehand is a fun activity to do when you get free time!

For literature fanatics, audiobooks are the way to go. It’s a fantastic way to get your brain working to grow comprehension and pronunciation skills. And, as a possible extra bonus, the reader could be the author of the book you’re listening to! That was certainly the case for me when I listened to Trevor Noah’s astounding Born A Crime autobiography a few years ago.

And, of course, podcasts. In my opinion, this entertainment form is the most fascinating because of how diverse it is. There are so many topics to explore from and a variety of voices to discover. You can hear about juicy celebrity drama or learn about a real life murder mystery, for example. There isn’t an average episode length across the multitude of shows either, so you’ll always be able to find content that is suitable for your needs. Choosing this medium to fill your pockets of time is hands-down a great idea. Plus, if you love Vivensity and want to see more from us, you can check out our intern-produced podcast Spark Moment™ on Spotify! It’s a great way to hear from youth voices about real-world student problems and necessary life skills. There’s honestly no better way to celebrate International Podcast Day (9/30) than with our intern podcast team. So follow our show and check it out!

Without a doubt, making time for entertainment and downtime can be difficult with an event-filled, hectic agenda. You should always try your best to plan out your day in advance to fit in a well-deserved break, but if your schedule looks impossibly tight, start thinking about how you can M.A.P. out those pockets of time in your life. So whether it’s listening to music, audiobooks, podcasts, or any other similar activity that you enjoy, make the conscious choice to give yourself these moments!