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The Best Way to Use Your Free Time

April 14, 2016, 11:00 PM UTC
Photograph by Paul Bradbury via Getty Images

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: If you had an extra day in the week, how would you spend it? is written by Robin Koval, president and CEO of Truth Initiative.

My initial reaction to this question was to think of a million things I could do. After all, women are known to be natural born multi-taskers. As my mind raced, I envisioned a “me/you/us” day. This would entail spending some time on myself (catching up on much-needed sleep), some time on my passion project (helping people find their grit to succeed), and devote any remaining time to giving back (volunteering at a local homeless or animal shelter). But as I thought more about this great question, and let my mind rest for just a moment, I realized that what I would like to do most is simply be in the moment. Be more reflective. Be more connected but without the devices. Be grateful.

It wasn’t until I got back from a hard-earned vacation several years ago that I realized just how much I had missed from not being ‘in the moment.’ I was obsessed with taking pictures when I traveled. In fact, I used to shoot hundreds of photos, sometimes between 500 and 1,000, as well as video. Then I’d edit elaborate movies with effects, music, etc. I stopped my over-enthusiastic photographic endeavors when I realized that I was spending my vacations documenting versus experiencing them. I was in places I had dreamed about visiting for decades, and my focus was on capturing an image to be enjoyed in the future rather than fully experiencing what I had yearned for so long. And by the way, once edited, those videos spent years on the shelf with no one viewing them. Instead I now take only a few photos to post on Facebook (FB), and rely on the talents of all the other photographers (amateur and pros) to do the documenting for me. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but experiencing the moment is priceless.