time well spent
Image: Nataliya Vaitkevich

Spending time well means different things to different people. Some associate it with productivity, personal fulfillment or self-improvement. For others, it’s about spending quality time with loved ones or helping people in need. Many associate time well spent with a good work-life balance — days that feel full and rich both professionally and personally, without being exhausting or overwhelming.

In an age when busyness is elevated, even revered, well-spent time offers a refuge. Rather than encouraging us to succumb to the pressures of constant activity, it emphasizes the quality of our experiences over the quantity. If we’re spending our time well, we’re prioritizing meaningful pursuits that enrich our lives instead of frantically ticking off an endless list of tasks.

Here, we explore the ins and outs of this concept and look into the tools that can help you get the most out of every day.

Table of Contents

What Does ‘Time Well Spent’ Mean?

Let’s dive into “time well spent” in a bit more detail. In what different ways can you spend your time well? And in what ways do these activities either apply to your personal life, your professional life, or both?

Time well spent is usually associated with activities that are meaningful, productive or satisfying. They bring with them a sense of fulfillment, joy or accomplishment, and leave you feeling replenished.

Our perceptions of time well spent are often aligned with our personal values. If you’re trying to establish your freelance career or grow the client base of your small business, what constitutes time well spent is likely to be different from someone who’s trying to write a novel or prevent burnout. As you examine your priorities, you’re likely to find that seeking a balance between your working and leisure time becomes increasingly important.

Time well spent encourages us to be intentional with our time, ensuring that our efforts contribute positively to our well-being and growth.

What constitutes time well spent can shift over time. How you prioritize your time at one point in your life may change with your evolving values, goals and circumstances. As your team grows, you might want to spend more time learning how to manage people, for example. And starting a family is likely to dramatically shift how you want to spend your time personally and professionally. With children to care for and enjoy, working efficiently may become more important than ever.

Here are some common interpretations of what time well spent means in practice.


If productivity is a priority for you, you’ll likely feel like you’re spending your time well if you’re achieving your tasks quickly and at a standard you’re happy with, or if you’re accomplishing your personal or work goals. Engaging in work you find meaningful is important, as is ensuring that you limit distractions so that you can focus on the task at hand. Using productivity and time management tools can help you to optimize your workday.

Personal Fulfillment

These are the activities that bring you pleasure or a sense of purpose or accomplishment. They might include hobbies or creative pursuits that you find enjoyable and enriching. If you’re trying your hand at pottery, for example, you’ll likely enjoy seeing your first piece emerge from the kiln. The time spent quietly working with your hands may provide a welcome break from your busy career.


Investing time in learning new skills, expanding your knowledge, or improving yourself physically, mentally or emotionally is often considered time well spent. This is because the benefits of these investments extend beyond the present moment. By completing a course, you might help to grow your business. And by practicing mindfulness, you may help to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Quality Time with Loved Ones

Many people value spending time with family and friends, strengthening relationships, and creating lasting memories. These periods are often considered well spent because of the emotional and social benefits they provide. They enrich our sense of connection and belonging, helping us to live happy, fulfilled and balanced lives.

Helping Others

Helping others can take many forms. It may involve acts of kindness, volunteerism, community work, or freely providing help or support. These acts of altruism have been shown to alleviate stress, reduce isolation, and boost our self-esteem. They also increase bonds between people — often strangers — and help to make the world a more considerate and empathetic place.

Image: RDNE Stock project

Rest and Relaxation

Taking time to relax, and recharge is important. The risks of denying the inclination to rest include burnout, depression, anxiety and a host of physical ailments. Rest may comprise short work breaks in your day, striving not to work long days or weekends, and prioritizing holidays. These periods are crucial for maintaining your overall well-being and productivity in the long run.

Strategies for Time Well Spent

So, how do you go about making your days feel rich and fulfilled? These strategies can help you to spend your time well.

  • Set priorities: Identify what truly matters to you by assessing your values and goals, and allocating your time accordingly. Be realistic about how much time you can reasonably spend on these priorities. Ensuring your time is spent well isn’t about jam-packing every minute of every day with tasks to complete. Incorporating some flexibility in your schedule so that you can do what you need to do without feeling overwhelmed is important.
  • Limit distractions: Minimize the activities that consume time but don’t provide meaningful value. Excessive social media use, for example, has long been linked to depression, anxiety and insomnia. The same applies to mindless TV watching, which is a sedentary and lonely activity, and depending on the content can be quite distressing, too.
  • Be present: Practice mindfulness by being fully engaged in whatever you’re doing. Try not to focus on other tasks you should be doing. Being in the moment enhances the quality of the experience and helps you derive more satisfaction from it.
  • Reflect and adjust: Regularly assess how you spend your time and make adjustments if necessary. You’re unlikely to spend your time just as you intended every day. Be patient with yourself. Reflect on your activities, identify areas where you can improve, and try to align your time with your priorities better over time. Remember that spending your time well is an evolving practice.
  • Use technology to your advantage: Support your time management objectives by integrating the right tools into your life. Technology should help you organize your time well by giving your days structure and purpose. An automatic time management tool is critical if you’re endeavoring to feel more in control of your time.

time well spent strategies
Image: Judit Peter

The Role of Technology in Managing Time

The invention of the clock fundamentally shifted how we think about time. It meant we were no longer guided by the seasons, the phases of the moon, or day and night. But instead by seconds, minutes, and hours, and what could realistically be accomplished within these newly defined periods.

Timekeeping was the latest technology of its day. Today, our technological innovations look vastly different, but they are both profoundly dependent on and influenced by time.

Since technology plays such a critical role in terms of how we manage our time, it’s worth diving into its potential in a bit more detail.

In both our personal and professional lives, we use calendar apps to organize our schedules and set reminders. We install task managers to help guide us on what activities we do when. We select different tools to communicate and collaborate. And we adjust our behavior and engagement with our devices depending on whether we’re connecting with others in real time or asynchronously.

Whether we’re working on our own or as part of a team, tools also help us to track progress and ensure that deadlines are met. This reduces the chances of missed appointments or overlooked tasks, and can be essential for business success.

Technology aids also help to minimize distractions and to automate routine tasks, which can significantly save time. With these extra hours and minutes at your disposal, you can devote your attention to the critical tasks that are higher on your list of priorities.

It’s worth being conscious, however, about how easy to use and intuitive the tools you choose are. Your solutions need to be simple and effective if they’re going to help you spend your time well rather than being either time consuming or stressful. Enter the automatic time tracking solution.

How Time Tracking Can Help

If you’re wondering how to use your time well, you have to know how you’re spending it in the first place. And that involves more than guesses and estimates. More than notes jotted down manually on a notepad beside you. It involves using technology to your advantage.

The right time tracking tool should be an enabler and support structure. It should help you to worry less about time, and instead give you the freedom to do your best work and get through your tasks quickly and productively. And it should help you delineate your time into work and leisure. We can’t — and shouldn’t — work all the time. By assessing and analyzing where our hours and minutes go, we can make the changes we need to use our time well.

Using an automatic time tracking app like Timing gives you the comprehensive insight you need to make these adjustments. It helps to identify time sinks that aren’t serving you, which projects aren’t being completed efficiently, and whether you could be using your time differently so that you can focus on your priorities.

If your time currently feels chaotic and disorganized, automatic time tracking can be the bridge to finding control and order.

time well spent time tracking
Image: Anna Shvets

In Summary

Spending time well takes many different forms, depending on your personal — and, likely, constantly evolving — values, goals and circumstances. You might want to focus on your professional ambitions or on your personal objectives. For many people, time well spent involves finding a balance between the two. It’s ultimately about creating a life that feels meaningful and satisfying.

Technology has an important role to play in how we spend our time. While it can be distracting and problematic at times, it can also be part of the solution.  With the right tools in hand, we can gain valuable insight into where our hours and minutes are going, so that we can structure our time in a useful way, work productively, find a good work-life balance, and spend our time well.

Try Timing’s free 30-day trial today to assess and analyze your time, and to start getting the most out of every day.

Time Well Spent: Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Example of Time Well Spent?

Time well spent means different things to different people. Some want to be more productive in their work, while others want to focus on their personal goals and self-improvement. For many people, it’s about finding a good work-life balance, so that your life feels rich, and full of purpose and meaning.

What Are The Key Indicators of Time Well Spent in Professional Development?

If you’re striving to spend your time well at work, start by setting yourself specific work goals. These goals will guide how you spend your time, and will provide a valuable basis against which you can measure your progress. Some goals might include finding more clients, growing your professional network, or acquiring a new skill.

How Can I Measure If My Time is Being Spent Well at Work?

An automatic time tracking tool can help you assess where the hours and minutes of your day are going. It will tell you whether you’re focusing on the task at hand, or getting distracted and absorbed in time sinks. Using these insights can help you gain control of your time so that you can use it more productively.