Evenings are a valuable source of free time, but few people make the most of them. It’s easy to come home from work, flop down on the couch, and spend the rest of the evening watching TV or surfing the internet. But how fulfilling is that? These six tips will help you stop wasting your evenings and start using your time more productively.
You don’t need to wear full business attire until bedtime, but don’t change into your ratty sweats as soon as you come home, either. Staying dressed in something you’d feel comfortable leaving the house in, even if it’s just jeans and a T-shirt, is a way of telling yourself that you’re not finished getting things done yet.
A messy house isn’t conducive to productivity. After you have dinner, spend a few minutes washing dishes and straightening the kitchen instead of leaving clean-up until the next morning. It’ll get you in the groove of getting stuff done, and you’ll be more motivated to go accomplish something else afterwards.
Skip the alcohol
If you’ve had a long, tiring day at work, it’s tempting to come home and unwind with a drink. But if you want to make your evenings more productive, think twice about that glass of wine – alcohol tends to signal that it’s time to relax and shut down for the night. Consider reserving alcoholic drinks for weekends, and treat yourself to bubbly water or a cup of your favorite tea on the evenings you want to get things done.
Turn off the TV
It’s all too easy to come home at the end of the day, sit down in front of the TV or your computer, and stay put until it’s time for bed. To make the most of your evening time, don’t get into that screen-induced trance to begin with. Keep your TV off and your laptop closed unless you absolutely need either of them.
Choose personal projects that you enjoy
Work tends to take up a lot of your energy (not to mention time), and it can be hard to find the motivation to work on your own projects after you come home for the day. You probably won’t make much progress on your personal goals if they don’t help you relax and destress. That’s not to say that you should only choose sedate, stress-free projects, but they should be something you enjoy and look forward to doing, even when you’re tired.
Get ready for the next day
A little forethought in the evening can give you a much smoother morning the next day. Before you go to bed, take a few minutes to choose tomorrow’s clothes, set out the pots or pans you use for making breakfast, and program your coffee maker to wake you up with the smell of a freshly brewed pot. You’ll thank yourself for making the extra effort.
It’s common to spend evenings killing time until you go to bed, but you can do better than that. Evenings are the perfect opportunity to make serious progress on the non-work projects that matter to you, so don’t squander this valuable free time. Start making the most of your after-work hours, and you’ll feel more personally fulfilled around the clock.