How to Be Productive After Work? 12 Tips
12 tips to spend your time after work productively and get everything done
Working hard in the office day by day takes a great deal of energy, organization, and motivation. So, it’s not surprising if the only thing you want to do once you get home is to watch an entire season of the new show or grab your smartphone and spend hours on Instagram and YouTube. While this may let you unwind a bit, later on you’ll feel regret for not doing anything important during the evenings after work.
Does this sound like you? Do you feel like becoming one of those energized individuals who write novels, regularly meet with friends and devote time to their personal projects in the evenings? Then, it’s time to regain control over your life. And the advice from our executive resume writers will help you make good use of the hours after work.
Speaking of making effective use of time…
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Now, let’s get back to the subject. If you struggle finding time and energy on important things in the evening, try out these techniques:
1. Plan ahead
It’s naïve to expect that you’ll return home from the office and will think of lots of exciting things to do. Most likely, all you’ll be thinking of is a delicious meal and lying on the couch. Here’s the solution: plan your evening time in advance just like you plan your office schedule. Schedule an evening out with friends, cooking a dinner, reading a book or devoting time to your hobby. If you set your mind to doing this and that in the evening, you’ll less likely procrastinate on that. Moreover, you won’t have to spend energy figuring out what should be done and will be able to get busy at once.
2. Give yourself some fixed time to rest
Let’s be realistic. If you get back home exhausted and immediately jump into other activities, you won’t get proper rest and might feel even more tired in the morning. Or, if you planned to spend this evening learning new skills or reading, you’ll probably feel unfocused and annoyed. Before you focus on any out-of-work activities, give yourself some time to unwind and relax – say, 30 minutes. Spend this time listening to music, relaxing on the couch, meditating, or simply having a cup of tea and reflecting over your day. But don’t exceed the time limit you’ve set for yourself. After the time expires, get back to the activities you’ve planned.
3. Limit the technology
Social media, messengers and videos with cats can absorb us for hours. Moreover, they tend to keep us up late which affects our sleep and productivity the next day. To avoid wasting another evening on tech distractions, limit the use of technology in the evenings. Cut off the time with smartphone and laptop to one hour in the evening or restrict the use of technology after 22PM. This simple rule will improve your concentration on whatever you’ve planned for the evening. Moreover, you’ll be amazed at how much free time you really have when notifications and pop-ups don’t distract you every few minutes.
4. Understand your activity style
Each of us has habits and preferences when it comes to managing hours after work. Maybe, you need to change and have dinner before you get down to any other activities. Or, you are most inspired and energized for writing a blog when you’ve just returned home after work. Or, on the contrary, you need some lazy time to unwind and socialize so that you could learn Spanish late in the evening. Knowing your pace and preferences will help you use the time in the evening effectively.
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5. Set achievable goals
The main criterion for your after-work hours is the same as with your professional goals. They should be achievable. Don’t try to squeeze cooking a family dinner, cleaning the kitchen, reading two book chapters and answering a few personal emails into one evening. Most likely, you’ll accomplish only half of what you’ve planned or nothing at all, and will feel frustrated because of that. So, set tasks that you can realistically accomplish in one evening, and don’t forget to schedule extra time for rest. This will help you complete all tasks and give a boost of confidence.
6. Go outside
If your plans after work require some intellectual activity (such as writing a blog, learning a programming language, reading a non-fiction book, etc.), you might feel the temptation to get distracted by the TV, internet or other things at home. The solution? Try working or learning outside. You might want to move to your back yard or a park and leave all tech distractions at home. You can also grab a coffee in a cozy café and immerse yourself in your chosen activity there. The thing is, when we work or study from a new location, our brain works more efficiently and our concentration improves.
7. Do the things you love
The best way to motivate yourself for productive evenings is to do something that interests you. If you’ve decided to learn Chinese or read a bestselling book but you aren’t naturally drawn to these activities, most likely you’ll procrastinate on them. So, think of things you can do for hours because you enjoy them or reconsider your youth hobbies. If you spend evenings doing something you love, you won’t have to think of lots of ways to motivate yourself as the motivation will come naturally. Playing drums, dancing, writing novels – choose anything that piques your interest. Moreover, having a hobby will make you more hard-working during office hours.
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8. Leave the office on time
I know that it’s easier said than done. But focusing on other activities after work is hardly possible when your working day lasts 11 hours. Moreover, the longer working week doesn’t mean higher efficiency. The study reveals that employee output reduces dramatically after a 55-hour working week. So, organize your day in a way that will allow you to finish work on time, or at least don’t stay too long after working hours. Leave the office at the same time every evening. Thus, you’ll know for sure how many free hours you have in the evening and will be able to create realistic plans.
9. Make time to exercise
Exercise is a powerful thing for everyone who wants better health, a calm mind and higher productivity. Even a walk in the park or around the block will make you more energized and stimulate for further work after a busy day in the office. So, find the right time in the evening – it can be right after work, or in-between different home projects – and give your body some work. Again, choose the activity you like, such as jogging, walking, yoga, cycling, stretching, etc. Exercises boost blood circulation and enrich our brain with oxygen which will help you be more energized and hard-working for your evening projects.
10. Start a blog
Even if blogging is not on your to-do list for the evening, consider devoting a little time every evening to it. Having a diary is a great way to organize your thoughts, rethink your emotions and attitude towards certain life events. Blogging helps us declutter our thoughts, making us more focused, effective as well as helps us define our priorities. Moreover, writing regularly will improve your logical thinking skills and imagination. If you don’t feel like exposing your life and emotions publically, start a good old paper diary instead.
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11. Learn to delegate
A 24-hour working day is simply not enough. So, you’ll probably struggle to make time for all desired after-work activities. To get more things done, you’ll need to delegate. Just like you delegate the tasks in the office, find someone to delegate out-of-work activities to. For example, you may find a cleaning company and delegate decluttering your house to them. There’s also an option to hire resume writing help online and let the experts to write a resume and cover letter for you. Outsourcing smaller tasks that can be done without your active involvement will save you precious hours in the evening and allow focusing on more important projects and activities.
12. Don’t be hard on yourself
If you tend to spend your evenings as a couch potato and are looking for a change, don’t blame yourself if you don’t stick to the plan since day one. Perfection doesn’t happen in one day. Instead, reward yourself for having a plan and completing each point of that plan. Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t completed everything as planned. Just correct your plan for tomorrow and go on. Once you develop a habit of staying productive in the evenings, the motivation will come naturally. Also, remember to give yourself some rest after a block of learning or reading a book. Alternating hard work with rest will help your body and mind stay effective.
3 extra tips to stay energized in the evenings
Do you have to work or study late in the evening? Or, do you want to make more time for your hobby or a side project? Use these tips to stay effective:
✓ Eat healthy snacks
The food we consume affects your well-being and energy levels, especially in the evenings. While it may be tempting to grab chips or chocolate bars, it’s better to opt for healthier snacks such as nuts, fruit, or dark chocolate. Avoid having too much coffee in the evening as you might get sleep problems.
✓ Schedule time to meet with friends or family
Quality social interactions improve our mood, mental state and therefore keep us more energized for intensive work. When planning evening activities, be sure to plan time to meet with people you love and go out or have a dinner in a restaurant.
✓ Go to bed in a fixed time
Going to bed at a different time breaks your sleep pattern, so you might not fall asleep fast or wake up during the night. To avoid this, set a fixed time for going to sleep, and stick to it every day. As your body adjusts to this schedule, you’ll fall asleep pretty fast and sleep deeply even after a busy evening.
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