Having wasted the entirety of far too many stretches of unoccupied time by simply sitting and wondering what to do, struggling to evaluate many competing ideas as they swirl in a chaotic flurry, I developed the following hierarchy:
1. Self Care
If you're tired, take a nap or turn in for the night
If you're restless, get some exercise
If you're hungry, eat
If you're overwhelmed, step away for a few minutes to catch your breath
If you're unsatisfied with some aspect of your character, read something that offers relevant wisdom and advice
Ensure you have the strength, energy, wisdom, and patience for your other responsibilities.
2. Care For Others
Consider what practical help (chores, errands, etc.) you can offer to anyone
Consider what emotional support or wisdom you can offer to anyone (phone call, message, visit, lend a book)
Do someone an unexpected kind favor
Offer support while realizing that their situations, decisions, and reactions are outside of your control.
Keep your home, land, vehicles, and possessions tidy and in working order
Be proactive. Keep things in check. Prevent dire or overwhelming situations.
4. Practical Endeavors
Any project that provides a practical benefit to others
Volunteer. Design, develop, code, or build something.
Music, creative writing, essays, visual art
Even if only for therapeutic purposes with no finished product.
Read, watch, listen, eat, or purchase for pleasure's sake
Only when there is nothing better to do, or when done for the sake of self care.