It is so easy to get home, change into sweats, turn on Netflix and call it a day. Don’t get me wrong – you deserve some calmness after a long day of work. But if you’re wanting to improve your life in some way and achieve your goals then spending a couple hours being productive will greatly benefit that plan! Then an hour before bed turn on an episode of your favorite show!
Plan/prep tomorrows food
I am talking breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Breakfast – having an efficient morning does not include rummaging around the fridge for 10 minutes looking for something to eat. Plan what you are going to eat and prep if needed. Just planning on grabbing an apple on your way out the door? Then place one by your bag so you can grab it and go. Want to take your breakfast up a notch… try prepping a bag of cut up fruits and putting them in the freezer to add ice and milk or water to in the AM for a quick, healthy, and yummy breakfast smoothie.
Lunch – if you work a 8-5 job and don’t currently pack a lunch I highly recommend it. It takes a lot of wondering out of your work day which helps increase productivity. And it helps keep you from grabbing a quick unhealthy option that is conveniently across the street. Packing a lunch does not have to be an elaborate meal prep. It can be as simple making a turkey wrap and some baby carrots that seriously only takes 5 minutes to prep. If you’re into more elaborate meal preps then more power to you!! But if you aren’t then don’t let it scare you!
Dinner – Having an idea of what you want to make for dinner or where you’re going to go to dinner is a HUGE time saver. I plan my Monday – Friday dinners every Sunday night (check it out on my most recent Plan With Me ) and by Wednesday night I try to plan my Saturday and Sunday dinners which usually are eating out. The other key to this is to make a grocery list for your Monday-Friday dinners so you don’t have to waste time either running out to get the grocery item or frantically trying to make something else.
Read a book
I love to find a new book that teaches me things and motivates me. Learning new information and skills from books can lead to incredibly helpful and productive nights. However, don’t feel obligated to just read non-fiction. I love a good mystery book and keeping your brain sharp from reading any book regardless of the genre is going to make you feel better than aimlessly falling into a Netflix hole for your entire night.
Listen to a podcast
Finding a podcast that is interesting for you and hopefully helps provide information that helps you pursue your goals is amazing! There are SO many podcasts available now and it can take some digging to find ones that you really enjoy but when you find one it can be GOLD.
A huge plus of listening to podcasts when you are at home is that you can listen to it while completing other tasks like working out or cleaning the house. For me I listen to them all the time but my favorite time is to listen on my commute to and from work. Makes me feel like a “wasted” time is being used more productively.
Get your heartbeat up. If you already have an exercise routine then awesome! But if you don’t have a scheduled time in your day to get moving then after work and before bed is a great time to get 30-60 minutes of activity but it doesn’t have to just be going to the gym. Try these less boring activities to get moving:
- Take your dog for a walk (no dog? going for a walk by yourself or with your family is not only great exercise but a great reason to get out of the house and into some fresh air!).
- Take an exercise class. SoulCycle, Pilates, Barre, etc.. trying an exciting new type of fitness could get EXCITED to get moving after work. Classes are especially nice because they help force you into a scheduled routine after work that includes exercise.
- Use YouTube fitness classes. Free? Convenient? No need to look cute? Sign me up!! My hands down personal favorite is Blogilates. She has so many videos to choose from ranging from intensive ab workouts to lighter Pilates sessions.
Catch up on current events
Being a productive member of society means more than just time management! It also means knowing what is going on around you and what your thoughts on the matter is. So log onto your preferred news source’s website and read more than just the headlines. You can take it up a notch by searching for think tanks or more academic articles about current events. Something in particular you found that sparked your interest? Read more about it! It’s great for conversation to have a few pieces of current event news that you know a lot about.
Organized home = organized life. Having a home where it is easy to find things you need, easy to maintain cleanliness, and an easy space to relax in is key.
I have found that having a well organized house is the most beneficial from the angle that it is so much easier to maintain. For example, doing laundry is exponentially easier when the laundry room is well organized and efficient and putting away clothes (one of my lease favorite chores) is quicker and easier when my closet is organized well and not cluttered.
Don’t attempt to organize every room in just one night. Instead, take on a small section of a room once or twice a week. Key areas to get organized are: clothes and linen closets, under sinks, laundry room/space, pantry, fridge, and garage. The garage can be a huge task for many households but seriously getting whatever room is your “stuff catcher” (which for me and so many people is the garage) organized makes your house feel so much more efficient.
Taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally is seriously one of the most important parts of living a productive life. You need to feel good to perform good! Taking an hour after work once a week to give yourself a little pampering is good for the soul. Paint your nails, do a face mask, do a hair mask. Pop around on Pinterest to find a fun face mask (just please don’t put lemon on your face!!).
Taking care of yourself not only helps with self confidence but it also helps your mental state! Feeling like you are your own priority will help you feel more productive and accomplish your goals. Speaking of goals…
Make sure you are taking time to plan out your week, month, year etc. There is so much power in sitting down with a notebook and pen and writing down what you want to get accomplished. Determining a 5-year plan might be more than one after work session but taking 30 minutes to write your goals for the week and month make a huge difference in actually achieving your goals.
I find the most efficient and realistically attainable way to plan goals is to break them down into sub-categories such as fitness, work, household, etc. rather than just a giant jumbled goal sheet. Also breaking them down into reasonable time lines such as monthly fitness goals. For example your May
- Workout 20 times
- Run 5 miles 5 total dates
- Loose 8 pounds
Making vision boards can also be a great way to get your brain into the goal setting mode. Visualizing what you want to accomplish can help you determine what steps you need to take and put a timeline and plan into place.
Make a budget
This is especially important if you have never made a real budget. Truly knowing how much you are making, how much you are spending and what you are spending it on is the first step toward financial success. If this is your first budge you’ll probably want to commit a couple hours to getting it together. If you already have one (go you!!) then make sure you’re taking time once a month to go over your budget. Examine if your income has changed at all. Check if you have been following the budget. Lastly, reevaluate the budget if needed. Rent increased by $50 a month? Make sure you are accounting for anything like that!
This is also a good opportunity to break down your spending more. Budgeted say $500 for food in one month but spent $650… break down what of that was groceries and what was eating out. Then try to cut down 2-3 eating out meals and evaluate next month if that kept you on track for your budget.
Put time into a new hobby
Or an established hobby if you have one that is productive and brings you happiness! If you don’t have a hobby and are looking into finding a productive one then go back up to your goals. Look at what you are looking to accomplish. Are you wanting to get to a point of financial stability and you believe a side job is the best way to do that? Then make that your hobby. That could mean starting an Etsy business because your crafting skills are amazing or picking up a once a week bar-tending shift at a local brewery because craft beer is your jam!
If you already have a hobby that you are all about then make sure you are making time in your day for it. It’s so easy to let hobbies that you are passionate take a backseat to everything else going on in your crazy life. But giving yourself something productive to do that ALSO gives you joy will seriously help you stay sane!
Being productive after work is honestly one of the biggest changes I have made in my life and it has made an enormous difference in my life. Going to bed feeling genuinely accomplished every night is an amazing feeling.
Other things you do after your work day to help you be productive? Let me know!