How many of us feel like we get home and waste our evenings? I can raise my hand to that one. The next morning we are annoyed that no progress was made in a hobby, self-care, or even basic cleaning. This can feel like the inevitable merri-go-round when you arrive home late from work, on a regular basis.
For all of those who struggle productivity after a long day I have a few tricks to help you get the most out of your evenings. Now, you may be thinking, not going to happen. I get home between 8 or 9, sometimes later. Well, yes that is late. But, it doesn't mean you still can't use your limited time of 30 minutes or an hour and a half to benefit yourself.
Here are 4 tips to change the way you use your limited time in the evenings.
Choose How Much Time You Will use to Be Productive
Just like you shouldn't plan every minute of your day, don't plan every minute of your evening. This is a time to engage in hobbies, self-care, and to do lists with out the stresses of time. Maybe you can only give yourself 30 minutes to finish an item on your todo list, before you sit on the couch. Or maybe you can push it all the way till your head hits the pillow.
Know that you don't have to completely shut down when you get home, or reengage high productivity mode. You can set a time limit for your productivity. No matter how small that amount of time is.
Notice Unhealthy Habits and Triggers
When you get home what is the first thing you do? Is it go sit on the couch and turn on the TV? Is it rummaging through the fridge? Or, is it to go change out of work clothes into comfy ones? We each have our own triggers that lead us down a path of complacency and no motivation.
Now, realize how that makes you feel and what follows. Usually it is a drain of productivity or motivation. We start a habit that is very hard to get out of, and it leads to an unproductive night. It can be challenging to change the habit, but easy to notice and avoid the trigger.
Figuring out the first stage of the habit can help you avoid the habit before it has even started. My trigger of the habit was going straight to couch when I got home. I would drop my bags and lay down. After, maybe 7 to 10 minutes of laying there, or being on my phone I would reach for the remote.
In order to prevent my habit for taking place, I had to avoid sitting on the couch any time during the evening. I had to consciously make the decision to go sit in a wooden chair at the dining room table. The hard seat would keep me awake, engaged, and more likely to be productive during the night.
Now, think about your own habits for when you get home. Think how you can make a small change so, you can feel motivated for productivity for the evening.
Have One to Two Tasks In Mind For the Evening
When you plan to be productive in the evening, plan for just one or two tasks. You have gotten home late and don't need a laundry list of to dos before bed. That doesn't motivate anyone at night, it can only lead to overwhelm and procrastination.
Now, this one to do may be just making it to the gym, or finally cleaning the dirty dishes. Ease down on the expectations that you will somehow write your novel in a month, if you just cram it in before bed. Slow and steady productivity after a long day of work can be challenging in itself.
Keep your time limit in mind. Going beyond your time limit can be a great motivator. But, don't let that be a reason for not being productive the rest of the week. Staying up late to hammer out the to do list so that you are exhausted rest of the week, isn't as productive as doing a task a day.
Don't Forget Self-Care
I know that we all have our hobbies and other secret ambitions beyond work. I have them too. But, sometimes after work we need to unwind, more than be productive. Our productive tasks should revolve on taking care of ourselves more than seeing progress in a project.
You are arriving home late. If that is a consistent thing for you, then you are especially drained from a long day of work. Working 12 or more hours is draining for anyone. Though you may build endurance for the long slogs, it doesnt mean that you don't require extra self-care at the end of each day.
For some, a good workout help relieve the stress. For others, a bubble bath and a book is the right combination. Just like you have time limit for your productivity, have a set amount of time for yourself. It may be 15 minutes or 45, but it will make a difference.
Taking some action for yourself, versus being on your phone or watching T.V. will be way more fulfilling and rejuvenating. Remember that watching T.V. doesn't relieve stress, it allows you an opportunity to zone out and not handle the stresses of life. It is a form of procrastination.
If you are needing ideas to be productive or self-care for after work, download the Late Night Productivity and Self-Care Ideas List. There are ideas for self-care, simple ways to be productive on projects and hobbies.
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Just because you get home late doesn't mean that you can't be productive. I hope these tips help you after a long day of work. Let me know what you do in the evening to stay productive after work, in the comments below.