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I'm looking for a verb that means "to make something productive".

Example: If someone is wasting their time by doing something that's not productive, I might say **spend your time productively".

In the above sentence, I want to replace "spend productively" by a single word.

So the new sentence would be "____ your time" whereas ___ is the word I'm looking for.

Is there a word (verb) that fits the above description?

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    Do something useful. – Weather Vane Jun 21 at 17:54
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    A word which fits is fructify but that's so dated it's all but unusable. – Andrew Leach Jun 21 at 17:57
  • Tell them to try being more industrious. – Bruce Murray Jun 21 at 18:56
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"Optimize" would work in your example.

To optimize your time means to make your time effective.

Make effective and make productive are synonymous.

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Maximize your time.

means

Make the best use of your time.

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  • The word maximize may perhaps be used in this way in some contemporary management jargon, but that use is potentially misleading. To maximize X, taken in its primary, literal meaning, is to bring X itself to the maximum possible magnitude. Thus to maximize one's time, taken at face value, is to make the relevant period of time as long as possible, and this may be the opposite of making the best use of the time. – jsw29 Jun 21 at 21:10
  • @jsw29: Feel free to read the dictionaries' definitions; I don't see any hints of jargon for the make the best use of usage—contemporary management or otherwise. – Tinfoil Hat Jun 21 at 21:16
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The only verbs I can come up with that answer your question in a technical sense aren't necessarily idiomatic or a perfect fit.

Some possibilities

"Optimise your time" means "Make the most of your time"

"Utilise your time" means "Make your time useful"

"Profit by your time" means "Use your time gainfully"

"Occupy your time" means "Keep busy with your time"

I could go on. I could I suppose justify the above examples by citing dictionary definitions but I'll let you do that for yourself.


More prosaically and more idiomatically I support @Weather Vane's comment. "Do something useful".

The "with your time" part is unnecessary because all activities take time.

"Stop wasting your time and do something useful!"

"Stop wasting your time and do something productive!"

The problem is there are many ways to say what you want and I'm reluctant to give a list.

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  • The OP was very explicit about wanting one word. – jsw29 Jun 21 at 21:02
  • @jsw29 - Fair enough, I'll see if I can come up with a single word (or at least a single verb - not all English verbs are mono-verbal). If I can I'll add it to my answer. If not, I'll turn my answer into a comment. – chasly - reinstate Monica Jun 21 at 21:19
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As opposed to wasting your time, I would say you should utilize your time:

[Merriam-Webster]
: to make use of : turn to practical use or account
// I'm a great person for utilizing waste power
// — Robert Frost


In most style guides, there is now guidance to choose use over utilize; however, in this case, the particular meaning of utilize is far more relevant, because all that needs to be said can be said with a single word.

Instead of saying use your time productively, we can simply say utilize your time.

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In the sense of " to deal with (something) usually skillfully or efficiently", One could say : (1) Address your time. or, more colloquially: (2) Handle your time.

These constructs are more familiar to us when they are followed by the adverb 'well', but one could very well leave them out and achieve the same meaning.

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If this is for a cloze or a multiple choice, my suggestions for "____ your time" would be: maximize organize However, a little more context to the sentence would be useful.

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